11.4 Network Capacity and Coverage

The new devices have increased the data usage considerably. The typical data usage values per subscriber per month are shown in Figure 11.12. The larger the screen size, the higher the data usage. The smartphone users consume 300 to 500 Megabyte (MB) of data per month, tablet users consume more data and laptop users consume normally several GB of data per month. The data usage numbers also tend to increase continuously due to new applications, higher access speeds and better quality displays.

Figure 11.12 Typical data usage per month per subscriber with different type of devices.


The following calculation provides an estimation of the maximum radio capacity that can be provided with LTE and LTE-Advanced radios in typical network configurations. The assumptions are listed in the following:

  • The total spectrum for LTE per operator is assumed 2 × 50 MHz (FDD). The typical frequencies in Europe would be at 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz bands. Another scenario assumes two times more spectrum: 2 × 100 MHz per operator including more spectrum from the 3.5 GHz band.
  • Only downlink traffic is considered because typical traffic is 5–10 times more in downlink than in uplink. We assume that the network capacity is downlink limited.
  • 10.000 base station each with three sectors.
  • 20 million subscribers.
  • LTE assumes 2 × 2 MIMO with spectral efficiency of 2.7 bps/Hz/cell ...

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