An International Perspective on the Challenges Facing the Wireless Infrastructure Industry
By Tom Leddo, Chief Strategy Officer and Lynn Whitcher, General Counsel
Different Cultures, but Similar Challenges
Md7 currently operates in fourteen different countries and eleven different languages. While there are obviously a lot of cultural differences between each of these markets, Md7 has found that each of these countries and regions within are facing a lot of the same challenges as each continues to upgrade and maintain their networks. And, believe it or not, we have also found that many of the solutions to these common infrastructure challenges are similar as well.
In short, Md7 acknowledges that each country and/or market within a given country is unique, but we have found through our efforts to acquire, modify, expand, extend, optimize and even decommission, tens-of-thousands of sites around in North America, Europe, New Zealand and Egypt that the challenges and solutions are more similar than one would assume.
Based on our experience over the last thirteen years, we find that all of the wireless operators we serve are facing the following two challenges.
- Managing capital expenditures (CapEx) on continuous and more frequent network upgrades in response to the ever-evolving consumer demand driven by the advent of smartphones, tablets and now even the Internet of Things (IoT).
- Managing operational expenditures (OpEx) in response to handset penetration rates in excess of 100%.
Or said another way, operators worldwide have to continuously increase the efficiency and bandwidth of their spectrum and networks while simultaneously operating on tighter budgets.
Independent of country or culture, it is simple economics. In all of the markets in which Md7 operates, the operator’s growth curve has flattened as it crosses 100% penetration, while the customers are demanding more bandwidth at lower prices, on cooler devices.
Disruption is Needed Globally
It’s clear that more cell sites are needed, but given the economic constraints of the industry, the traditional deployment model must be disrupted. In our previous article, More Cell Sites – Better, Faster, and Cheaper, we discussed the need to find a better way to acquire and build more cell sites (small cell, as well as DAS and macro sites) that is faster and cheaper. At Md7, we are investing a lot of money in R&D to find and improve upon solutions. We believe that the site acquisition process must be blown up and redesigned to be better, which we believe inherently results in cheaper and faster processes.