Most operators now turn to LTE to rapidly deploy more capacity to meet the surge of new mobile data traffic. The latest example is KDDI’s president and chairman, Tadashi Onodera that confirmed that the CDMA Japanese operator is migrating to LTE to more than double its current capacity. KDDI plans to deploy LTE initially in the 800MHz band and later using 1.5GHz spectrum. Onodera said the 800MHz band will be used for nationwide coverage, while 1.5GHz will be used only in densely populated areas.
Still Tadashi Onodera already now warned that LTE alone will not be enough. In addition KDDI is therefore also increasing its site density to improve capacity by a further factor of 10. Recent estimates show that mobile data traffic in Japan is set to grow by 15 times over the next five years. Onodera admitted that this would put severe strain on mobile networks and it will be “a big problem” for all operators. “LTE will not be sufficient to cope with such huge data demands so we also need to use other technologies such as WiMAX and Wi-Fi,” he said. (Rival japanese operator SoftBank made similar statements during previous year)
This looks to me as a insightful strategy – in particular when it comes to indoor coverage where classical “outdoor” solutions have severe drawback – not only with respect to capacity but also when it comes to energy consumption. Pico/femto cellular solution are definitely the way to go here. However, although WiFi may be a handy, cheap solution, it has not really shown that it passes the true “success test” yet, i.e. to provide very high capacities in limited spaces. We will probably see better indoor solutions with superior interference and energy management in the next few years to come.