Authors: YEKTA TÜRK, ENGİN ZEYDAN
Abstract: Enhancing the coverage and eliminating the poor performance is key to balance end-user experience andfuture network investments for mobile network operators (MNOs). Although vast amounts of infrastructure investmentsare provided by MNOs, there are still coverage and capacity planning problems at remote locations. This is because,in most cases, the population density and return-of-investments are low in those areas. In this paper, radio accessnetwork (RAN) sharing paradigm is utilized on experimental sites in Turkey to accommodate user equipment of multiplenetwork operators under the same cell sites. We first investigate characteristics, benefits, and limitations of two differentRAN sharing deployment scenarios. Then, a city-wide experimental RAN sharing study is conducted on live long-termevolution (LTE) networks between two MNOs in Turkey. Through experimental tests, we show overall performance gainsof enabling RAN sharing feature in terms of observing various key performance indicators that are obtained from sharedbase stations. Our experimental results demonstrate that both downlink and uplink average user throughput valuesincreased by 17.8% and 42.85%, respectively. After RAN sharing was enabled between MNOs, increase in the number ofuser equipment due to higher 4G coverage yielded a higher number of interradio access technology (inter-RAT) handoverattempts. This caused inter-RAT handover out success rate to decrease by 70.66%. Intrafrequency handover out successrate, which indicates if the subscriber is using the same RAT type, increased by 358.33% and service drop rates droppedby 86.1%, respectively, after RAN sharing was enabled. Finally, we discuss and summarize the main takeaways of theoutcome of the considered large-scale RAN sharing experiments.
Keywords: Mobile operator, radio access network, transport, network sharing, real-world testbed
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