A report by independent Dutch research institute TNO compares various networks that may be used to cover a country with digital radio and mobile television. LTE-A (Long Term Evolution Advanced) is the newest buzzword, or buzz acronym rather, to come from mobile network operators and the technology has been included in the comparison.
TNO is looking to its own country for a case. In the Netherlands, 16.5 million people share 31,000 square kilometers. An LTE-A network will require 38,500 transmitters on almost 13,000 sites to reach all of them, according to TNO. A DMB/DAB+ network will require 30 transmitters on the same number of sites. The differences in building costs, site rentals and other running expenses are major. The running costs for a LTE-A transmitter is 60,000 USD per year, according to Arqiva back in 2010.
Given that those figures still are accurate means running costs of 2.3 billion USD a year. In addition to four times as much in investments. That means that whoever would want to buy such a network covering over 99% of the country would need 4 million paying customers (25% of the population) to each pay 1,150USD a year to break even. And a revenue on top would be nice.
The TNO report maintains the need for cost efficient distribution solutions, that the capacity crunch in mobile networks is very real and that broadcasting networks are the most efficient means to distribute live content to a large audience.
The report has been commissioned by IDAG and will shortly be available to paying IDAG members. Not among those? Please get in touch with Ron du Croix to buy a license for individual or corporate use.
In January 2011 I wrote Why 4G is Hyped which you may also find useful.