Subpar Antenna Quality Weakens Network Performance
Mobile operators have spent billions of dollars both building and making improvements to their ever expanding wireless networks. While each component plays a significant role in the efficiency of the network, the performance of the antennas deployed within the network can serve as a key factor of network capacity. Poorly designed antennas can cause major interference, limiting traffic capacity and maximum throughput.
Often times, operators are more concerned with the quality of the radios than the quality of the antennas. Buying the lowest priced antenna may seem like cost savings up front, but in the long run, lower quality antennas will have higher failure rates. Higher failure rates mean more site visits, with each visit conservatively costing between $1200-$3000. If you are an operator with 40,000 antennas, an antenna failure rate of just 2% can cost you $960,000 per year (based on 800 site visits).
The typical cost of antennas is less than 5% of the total cost of a tower site, yet they have a major impact on the overall performance of the network.With the growing customer demand for data and the increasing cost of upgrading the wireless infrastructure, it’s natural for operators to trim costs wherever they can. Once again, service providers need to be cautious in deciding where to cut costs to ensure revenue won’t be lost in the long run.
When it comes to antenna quality, the key for operators is to focus on the big picture. An upfront investment in antennas of the highest quality will mean a lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) over the life of the product as well as higher customer service levels, lower churn rates, and a stronger reputation for service quality, resulting in higher total revenue.
In San Diego, California, one of the big four U.S. wireless operators decided to deploy antennas from a “cost effective” telecommunications equipment maker, over Kathrein. However, they would soon realize that cheaper isn’t always better. Upon making the switch from Kathrein’s dual-band antennas to the other manufacturer’s Hex Port antennas, the carrier experienced some alarming issues with PIM (passive intermodulation), as well as both accessibility and retainability (blocked and dropped calls).
After quickly making the decision to switch back to a higher quality unit made by Kathrein, BTS (Base Transceiver Station) statistics drastically improved The downlink throughput improved by nearly 40%, from an average of 5 mbps to an average of 7 mbps. The service provider also saw an improvement in customer satisfaction, with far fewer dropped and blocked calls.
Subpar Antenna Quality can Result in Customer Churn
Subpar Antennas not only degrade network performance and increase costs, but can lead to lost revenue due to customer churn. When considering lost revenue alone, a single operator with a subscriber base of 120 million customers and an annual churn rate of 12% is estimated to lose $5.27 billion dollars per year. This does not take into account the cost of acquiring a new customer to replace those lost, which could nearly double the lost revenue each year for wireless carriers. Additionally, defecting customers can further damage the brand’s value through word of mouth by telling friends, family, and social media followers about their bad experiences, resulting in an immeasurable loss of potential future earnings.
Kathrein’s commitment to innovation and quality allows operators peace of mind and lower TCO as they continue to expand their networks on the road to 5G.
To learn more, click here to download the whitepaper The Role of Antenna Quality in Meeting Mobile Data Demand