Vipnet, Croatia: From coast to coast
Vipnet expands 3G coverage in Croatia using Ericsson's Psi Coverage solution – a first in Europe.
With more than 1,000 islands and 6,000 km of coastline, Croatia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. There is a strong need to provide mobile broadband coverage to the country's islands and along its coast, as tourism plays a key role in Croatia's overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and economy.
Vipnet chose to lead the way in bringing mobile broadband to Croatia's coastal areas. "In many of these locations mobile services are practically the only way to offer telecommunications services or a connection to the internet," says Tomislav Makar, Access and Transport Network Development Director, Vipnet. "Especially over the summer we have a large amount of migration to the coast and lots of tourists. That's why we need to offer huge mobile broadband capacity."
Power consumption was an important factor to take into consideration for this project. The lack of a power grid meant that a standard 3-sector WCDMA (3G) site could not be used. Instead, there was a need for a low power, photovoltaic solution.
Ericsson and Vipnet worked together to find the best way to overcome this challenge. "Ericsson competences are well-known worldwide, and we wanted to use the local know-how and experience of the Ericsson team in Croatia," says Tomislav Makar.
The partnership resulted in the first implementation of Psi Coverage in Europe. This unique Ericsson solution is able to provide the low power consumption of omni-splitter sites without compromising on the coverage and performance offered by 3-sector solutions. "Psi Coverage is the best choice if you want to implement 3G technology on sites with a heavily limited power supply. The benefits of that is better results in uplink and downlink, compared to some only sectored sites," says Tihomir Pusnik, Radio Network Planning Specialist, Vipnet.
Vipnet tested the performance of Psi Coverage on 20 sites and compared it to the passive split solution. Data from these test sites proved that Psi Coverage provides superior performance and better coverage compared to the passive splitter solution. It was also confirmed that Psi Coverage offers up to 50 percent lower power consumption than a 3-radio site and a 3-6 decibel (dB) improvement on coverage compared to omni-split.
"The biggest advantage is that the Psi Coverage solution uses only one radio to serve traffic in three sectors. In that way, Psi solution has a lower power consumption than the traditional base station. At the same time it has very good capacity and coverage features," says Josip Brnic, Regional Access and Transport and Radio Network Manager, Vipnet.
Strive for more
The successful installation of Psi Coverage has allowed domestic users and tourists to have a reliable and high performance 3G connection in more areas than ever before. The positive results from this project mean Vipnet and Ericsson will look to deploy Psi Coverage in other locations around Croatia, such as mountain and rural areas, which have similar requirements for power consumption. "I hope that Psi Coverage will support further development of mobile broadband and that in the very near future we will have Psi Coverage for a 4G network," says Josip Brnic.
"We believe we will continue our cooperation and partnership with Ericsson where innovation, network quality and the continual striving to improve network and features will play a very important role," says Tomislav Makar
Psi Coverage: a breakthrough in energy saving
Ericsson's unique Psi Coverage solution enables the accelerated deployment of 3G coverage and improves the user experience, while providing significant energy and cost savings compared to traditional solutions.
The name Psi (Ψ) reflects the shape of the solution, which uses only one standard base station radio connected to three antennas. Traditional solutions deploy one radio per antenna, as can be seen with 3-sector sites which require 3 radios.
Compared to single carrier omni or splitter-omni sites, the uplink of Psi Coverage has 3 times the capacity and 5 dB better coverage. The solution also provides like-for-like coverage on GSM sites, but uses 45 percent less power than 3-sector sites.
In addition to reducing costs by cutting energy use, further substantial savings result from faster installation and reduced tower load and maintenance. Psi Coverage decreases both capex and opex for WCDMA/HSPA, improving the profitability of network coverage expansions into areas with a low to medium number of subscribers.
As 3G coverage grows to reach more of the world's population, low power solutions like Psi Coverage will increase in importance for service providers in the coming years.
Vipnet began operations in 1999. It was the first private mobile network operator in Croatia, and is a part of the Telekom Austria Group. With a presence throughout Croatia, Vipnet is a leading telecoms provider, with over 2 million mobile customers and 200,000 fixed customers. It is known as an innovation and mobile broadband leader on the market, holding licenses for GSM, WCDMA and LTE.