Deploying traditional fixed network infrastructure has historically required extensive capital (CAPEX) and operating (OPEX) expenditure. Building a fibre backhaul network, for example, not only necessitates a high initial cost outlay, but can also require a lengthy time to market and extensive regulation. These factors all mean that fibre networks can drastically reduce an operator’s ROI, deterring them from investing in fixed connectivity. This is a particularly challenge in Eastern European where operators have a substantially lower average revenue per user (ARPU) than Western Europe and other global regions. Operators in the region are therefore tasked with driving innovation and running networks at a much lower cost per bit in order to draw new revenue from the market. This presents a challenge: how can operators unlock the potential opportunities from fixed connectivity whilst maintaining low CAPEX and OPEX?
To address this challenge, operators in many countries have turned to a new wave of advanced microwave technologies. An example is point-to-multipoint (PMP) microwave, which enables the co-existence of mobile backhaul and enterprise access services over the same infrastructure, allowing operators to meet market demands for a fraction of the cost.
An innovation in wireless backhaul
With high levels of investment into mobile infrastructure across Eastern Europe, wireless technology offers operators a means of capitalising on this and maximising the underutilised opportunity presented by fixed broadband. One wireless innovation that has successfully generated revenues for operators in other low ARPU markets is PMP microwave. PMP microwave is already established in Europe, however recent developments have created a growing trend for operators across Africa and the Middle East to use the technology to deliver converged backhaul and enterprise access services.
In these markets, operators have been able to drastically increase their revenue opportunities by utilising spare capacity in their mobile backhaul networks to roll out fixed connectivity to businesses. This co-existence of multiple virtualised services within the same physical network is made possible through intelligent software now available through the latest PMP microwave technology.
Figure 1: Point-to-multipoint microwave backhaul.