Mobile ‘notspots’: a smarter ‘demand driven’ approach is needed

Poor mobile phone reception in the British countryside is to be tackled under government plans that could force telecom groups to open networks in rural areas to rivals’ customers.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) believes that focusing exclusively on mobile operators sharing networks in this particular way (there are other ways) is only part of the issue.

Prof Will Stewart from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said: “With technology developing at such a pace, with 4G rollout going well and 5G just around the corner, it may not be practical or affordable to expect network providers to deliver the performance and continuity of service that people and businesses need in the longer term without significant changes.

“Whilst more infrastructure, more sharing and more spectrum will all be needed, this will not be enough.  We need to radically change our approach to focus on what people want to do over the networks in order to meet the continuing needs of all users, including those in rural areas. For example there is likely to be a huge growth in video streaming over the next few years. Economic benefits would be gained from smarter networks using technology to respond specifically to this new behavioural trend.

“We need Demand Attentive Networking, as we call it, which will entail mobile phone operators, legislators, content owners and regulators working together to agree technical standards, network architecture and smart regulation that can adjust smarter networks in real time in response to individual users’ demands – rather than just attempting to have high capacity available everywhere, all the time.

“The result would be accessible network coverage for consumers and business when they need it, all delivered at a much lower cost for the mobile phone operators.”

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