The vast distances and extreme terrain of northern Scandinavia pose obvious operator challenges for network coverage, quality and cost efficiency.
That’s why the niche operator, which primarily targets enterprise customers, turned to CDMA 450MHz. Net 1 provides secure, cost-effective machine-to-machine connectivity over mobile broadband to businesses and services across the region. Its customers include forestry and related industries; energy and hydroelectric power companies, plus associated smart grids; and icebreakers that clear shipping passages.
When Ericsson reentered the CDMA market in 2009, Net 1 immediately made contact about swapping out its network for a new, better quality network, as Gösta Kallner, Net 1’s Chief Operations Officer, explains:
"Ericsson’s move was music to our ears," he says. "We knew instantly that we’d found the ideal partner to help achieve our vision. We are a young, entrepreneurial and innovative company, so it makes perfect sense for us to work with a solid, stable and dependable partner. That’s what we got with Ericsson that we didn’t have before."
Challenges included replacing the previous vendors’ networks with one Ericsson network. A single-vendor network means better opex and fewer interfaces for the operator. But Net 1 also wanted more than a straight swap-out.
"Our customers had lots of requirements," Kallner says. "Terrain was simply not allowed to be a barrier. Working with Ericsson, we developed and implemented eight new features that were firsts for the technology. We were able to deliver exactly what our customers wanted and they are delighted."
The coverage from the resulting network of about 800 base stations tops 90 percent of Denmark, Sweden and Norway – more than 790,000sq km – across archipelagoes, dense forest, fjords, mountains and coastline. A team of about 50 Ericsson and Net 1 employees worked together on the rollout from May to December 2010.
"As a niche operator focusing on machine-to-machine communication, we don’t need any more base stations as we don’t have mass person-to-person communication and related services," Kallner says. "The reduced number of base stations helps us pass on cost benefits to our customers."
Net 1’s customers include Vattenfall, one of Europe’s largest energy companies, to which it provides telemetric solutions; global hygiene and paper company SCA, the largest private forestry owner in Sweden; ambulances, including air ambulances; and icebreakers operating in Norwegian waters, which also deliver data to shipping.
"Each customer internally exchanges data enabling them to optimize their time, and improve processes and cost efficiency. We’re now looking at service advancements, such as Voice over IP.
"It allows our customers to optimize the use of their resources because they can see exactly who is needed where and when for particular tasks or assignments."
SCA praise for network’s M2M benefits
Magnus Bergman, Chief Technical Officer for SCA Skog (SCA’s forestry division), says CDMA 450MHz has made a huge difference since the company’s recent uptake of the technology.
"Net 1’s machine-to-machine connectivity across our fleet means we can precisely coordinate the cutting, collection, transport and delivery of logs," he says. "It has improved our economic and environmental results and transformed our industry. We can harvest, or protect, any specific tree out of the tens of millions we own."
Charlotta Sund, head of Ericsson’s Customer Unit Baltic Sea, says: "The close working partnership between Net 1 and Ericsson means we’ve always had honest dialog built on solid trust. The results are impressive and show the value of CDMA 450MHz."