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A Study of the readiness of the African Telecommunication industry to upgrade all GSM base stations to LTE.Case Study - Ghana

A Study of the readiness of the African Telecommunication industry to upgrade all GSM base stations to LTE.Case Study - Ghana

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Journal of Telecommunications, ISSN 2042-8839, Volume 22, Issue 1, October 2013 www.journaloftelecommunications.co.uk
Journal of Telecommunications, ISSN 2042-8839, Volume 22, Issue 1, October 2013 www.journaloftelecommunications.co.uk

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JOURNAL OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS, VOLUME 22, ISSUE 1, OCTOBER 2013 7
A Study of the readiness of the African Telecommunication industry to upgrade all GSM base stations to LTE.Case Study - Ghana
Affum Emmanuel, Shaddrack Y. Nusenu, Ansong E. Danso, Addo Emmanuel and Agyekum Kwame A-P
 
Abstract—
The standardization of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) is currently carried through in 3GPP and the deployment of frequency plan-ning, the issue of upgrading from the current GSM networks in Ghana to LTE is becoming cliché and may even die out without any deploy-ment being done, since Ghana has already failed to meet its 2011 target for LTE. In this paper, the readiness of Ghana to migrate from GSM to LTE is investigated, including how Telecom companies and regulating bodies in Ghana will analyse the said network, network deployment, network infrastructure, digital dividends, availability of the right LTE-compatible User Equipment and its positive effects on Ghana as a devel-oping country. Further, the Technological, Technical, human resource and business aspects of deploying the LTE Network to facilitate the rolling-out of the said network in Ghana are discussed. Again, a thorough analysis of the technology and its effective deployment which will yield maximum and efficient usage of this network standard avoiding losses, yielding maximum profit thereby generating revenue for the country are addressed. It was realized that, Ghana is not ready to implement LTE mainly because of the unavailability of digital dividends, which will aid in an effective and cost-efficient roll-out with vast coverage providing more consumers with services of high QoS, in addition, as a results of less internet usage among Ghanaians Telcos may be in huge financial risk, rather prefer locating LTE base stations at industrial areas of the country.
 Index Terms—
LTE, Digital Dividends, Network Infrastructure, Telcos
 
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1 I
NTRODUCTION
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E. Affum is with Department of Electrical and Electronic Eng., Kwame Nkrumah University of science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana.
 
S. Y. Nusenu is with the Department of Electrical/Electronic Eng., Koforidua Polytechnic, Koforidua - Ghana.
 
 
Ansong E. Danso, Department for Information Technology of the Institute of Computer Science, Valley View University.ss
 
 
E. Addo is with Department of Electrical and Electronic Eng., Kwame Nkrumah University of science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana.
 
A-P.K. Agyekum is with Department of Electrical and Electronic Eng., Kwame Nkrumah University of science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana.
 
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2 P
ROPECTS AND RELATED WORK
 
In February 2008 a white paper from the UMTS Forum was released to explain how LTE is the ideal platform to  bridge the gap between earlier legacy networks and 4G. The publication stated that “LTE is the next step on a clearly-charted roadmap to so-called ‘4G’ mobile systems that starts with today’s 2G and 3G networks. Building on the technical foundations of the 3GPP family of cellular systems that embraces GSM, GPRS and EDGE as well as WCDMA and now HSPA (High Speed Packet Access); LTE offers a smooth evolutionary path to higher speeds and lower latency. Coupled with more efficient use of operators’ finite spectrum assets, LTE enables an even richer, more compelling mobile service environment [5]. LTE is said to be made up of the Evolved UMTS Terres-trial Radio Access Node (E-UTRAN) and the Evolved Packet Core (EPC). Authors [6], investigated that “LTE Release 8 is one of the primary broadband technologies  based on OFDM, which is currently being commercial-ized. LTE Release 8, which is mainly deployed in a mac-ro/microcell layout, provides improved system capacity and coverage, high peak data rates, low latency, reduced operating costs, multi-antenna support, flexible band-width operation and seamless integration with existing systems. LTE-Advanced, also known as LTE Release 10 significantly enhances the existing LTE Release 8 and supports much higher peak rates, higher throughput and coverage, and lower latencies, resulting in a better user experience. Additionally, LTE Release 10 will support heterogeneous deployments where low-power nodes comprising picocells, femtocells, relays, remote radio heads, and so on are placed in a macro cell layout. The LTE-Advanced features enable one to meet or exceed IMT-Advanced requirements. It may also be noted that LTE Release 9 provides some minor enhancement to LTE Release 8 with respect to the air interface, and includes features like dual-layer beam-forming and time-difference-of-arrival-based location techniques. In this article an overview of the techniques being considered for LTE Release 10 is discussed. This includes bandwidth extension via carrier aggregation to support deployment,  bandwidths up to 100 MHz, downlink spatial multiplex-ing including single-cell multi-user multiple-input multi-ple-output transmission and coordinated multi point transmission, uplink spatial multiplexing including ex-tension to four-layer MIMO, and heterogeneous networks with emphasis on Type 1 and Type 2 relays. Finally, the performance of LTE Advanced using IMT-A scenarios is presented and compared against IMT-A targets for full  buffer and burst traffic model [6]. A study done by Motorola Inc. in 2007 [7], explains that, the motivation for the 3rd Generation Partnership Project to work on LTE was due to the recent increase of mobile data usage and emergence of new applications such as MMOG (Multi-media Online Gaming), mobile TV, Web 2.0, streaming contents. It went ahead to assert that LTE was the stand-ard in the mobile network technology tree that previously realized the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies that now account for over 85% of all mobile subscribers. LTE will ensure 3GPP’s competitive edge over other cellular technologies. LTE, also known as Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network (E-UTRAN) is expected to substantially improve end user throughputs, sector capacity and reduce user plane laten-
 
 9
cy, bringing significantly improved user experience with full mobility. Internet Protocol (IP) is the protocol for car-rying all types of traffic. Voice traffic on the network will  be handled mainly as Vice over IP (VoIP). This white pa-per also stated that deployments of LTE would be ex-pected in 2010 and commercially available in the next couple of years which has actually come to pass. In terms of infrastructure, the white paper discussed how the number of network elements would be reduced in the Evolved Packet Core (EPC). The reduced number of net-work elements leads to simpler functionality, improved redundancy but most importantly allowing for connec-tions and hand-over to other fixed line and wireless ac-cess technologies, giving the service providers the ability to deliver a seamless mobility experience. According to the study, LTE was realized to have many merits. The Access network in LTE, Evolved UMTS Radio Access Network (EUTRAN), uses OFDM for its downlink at a rate of 100Mbps+ and SC-FDMA for its uplink at a rate of 50Mbps+ both in the 20MHz spectrum. Orthogonal Fre-quency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) based radio de-sign and techniques which are used to spread data over many sub-carriers, provides greater immunity to fading, resulting in an overall increase in delivery reliability. It employs FDD with an end-user latency of less than 10ms and a control plane latency of less than 100ms for idle to active. It uses a Flexible and Scalable Bandwidth, (1.25, 2.5, 5, 10, 15 and 20MHz) 1.25MHz suitable for in-band migration (re-use of existing spectrum) and 5MHz – 20MHz for clear spectrum green field deployments and expansion of spectrum as demand grows. Frequency spectrum choice and flexibility of deployment in GSM, CDMA, UMTS bands (450, 700, 850, 900, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, 2500MHz) means that global roaming will be possi- ble. Mobility will be supported up to 500kmph but like other technologies will be optimized for lower speeds (from 0 to 15kmph). It has coverage of 5 – 100km with slight degradation after 30km. The VoIP is about 3 times that of UMTS’ voice capacity. Utilizing MIMO which are advanced antennas already standardized will increase the overall sector throughput with an E2E QOS allowing pri-oritization of different class of service. The core network, Evolved Packet Core (EPC) is a new and simplified data centric core network featuring collapsed architecture and improved redundancy, centralized mobility and applica-tion/services layer which is IMS based. The Access technology agnostic core network allows connection to other wireless and fixed line access networks. Connection to legacy GSM/UMTS core offers smooth subscriber LTE migration [8]. It was concluded in the white paper that, LTE was destined to provide immensely improved user experience, generate more revenue for Mobile Operators and will be a strong competitor to the other wireless tech-nologies in the next decade for both developed and grow-ing markets. This should therefore serve as a motivation to deploy LTE in Ghana, to generate revenue and create more job opportunities for individuals. Ren-Huang et al [9], investigated the performance of LTE paging, and pro-vided the guidelines for the best paging sequence of cells. During the study, it was realized that, in a mobile telecom network, locations of the user-equipment are tracked so that incoming calls can be delivered to the UEs. Typical mobility management includes location update, which refers to the reporting of a UE’s new location, when it is moved to a new location in the network, and paging, which helps the network to identify the location of the user equipment when an incoming call arrives. It was also realized that in LTE, it is the Mobility Management Entity (MME) which is responsible for Mobility Management and is connected to a group of eNode B’s. When an in-coming call to the UE arrives, three paging schemes are implemented, when large paging traffic is incurred. An interacted cell therefore is the cell through which the UE interacted with the network. The three schemes are Scheme CT (Cell-TAL), Scheme TT (TA-TAL) and Scheme CTT (Cell-TA-TAL). In Scheme CT, when an incoming call arrives, the MME first asks the last interacted cell to page the UE. If fails, all cells in the TAL are asked to page the UE. Also in Scheme TT when an incoming call arrives, the TA of the last interacted cell is asked to page the UE. If fails, all cells in the TAL are asked to page the UE. In Scheme CTT (Cell-TA-TAL), when an incoming call ar-rives, the MME first asks the last interacted cell to page the UE. If fails, the TA of the last interacted cell is asked to page the UE. If fails again, all cells in the TAL are asked to page the UE. It was concluded that, if the network signal-ling costs for location update and paging are the major concern, then the CTT scheme should be selected. If the number of polling cycles is the major concern, then the existing 3G mobility management should be selected for the users with high mobility and regular movement pat-terns. For low mobility users, the extra overheads in-curred by the LTE paging can be ignored. During the sixth session of the ITU/BDT Arab Regional Workshop on
4G Wireless Systems: LTE Technology” [10], which took place in Tunisia, from 27 – 29 January 2010, the topic “LTE/SAE Mobility and Session Management” was tack-led. Two areas were defined for the handling of mobility in LTE/SAE networks. These are the Cell, which is identi-fied by the Cell Identity, and the Tracking Area (TA). The Tracking Area is the successor of location and routing areas from 2G and 3G. When a User Equipment is at-tached to the network, the MME will know the UE’s posi-tion on tracking area level and in case the UE has to be paged, this will be done in the full tracking area. Tracking areas are identified by a Tracking Area Identity. In [11], Tellabs also highlights MME as the main control node in the LTE access network and breaks down MME’s critical functions and interfaces into; Network Access Control, Radio Resource Management, Mobility Man-agement, Roaming Management, UE Reach-ability, Track-ing Area Management, Lawful Intercept and Load Bal-ancing between S-GWs. Within the EPC protocol stack are unique and identifiable MME protocols. This stack con-sists of the S1-MME stack, which supports S1-MME inter-face with eNode B, and the S11 stack, responsible for supporting the S11 interface with Serving Gateway. MME supports the S1 interface with eNode B. The integrated S1 MME interface stack consists of IP, SCTP, and S1AP. From the study, we acknowledge the fact that LTE has the

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