With a population of 12 million people, São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. In the heart of the business district, smartphone penetration has reached 90 percent. With such a huge number of users in one area, Brazilian operator Vivo required a solution that would improve network quality and enable it to provide a better experience to its many customers.
“People are always using applications, always streaming video. It’s a high density of applications,” said José Pedro Nascimento, Networks VP, Vivo. “So it’s very hard to optimize this and to provide a good customer experience. That’s why we think it’s important to have a special focus on optimization and to give a better service.”
A trusted supplier
As Vivo’s existing RAN supplier, Ericsson extended its offering by providing the Ericsson WCDMA Flow of Users solution. This was part of Vivo’s ongoing strategy to improve network performance.
“We trust Ericsson’s knowledge of network optimization, their international expertise, and the ability they have to collect best practices from all over the world,” said José Pedro Nascimento. “We chose this solution because we liked the methodology. We were excited about the results that were found in other markets, which showed us that we could provide a better customer experience as well as better usage of network resources.”
An innovative approach
The Ericsson WCDMA Flow of Users solution takes an innovative approach to provide the best mobile broadband experience. This is achieved by serving connected users as efficiently as possible, while minimizing their connection time.
With the solution, Ericsson defines a selection of WCDMA software features and network configurations, which together contribute to enhanced performance.
The goal is to always maximize users’ smartphone experiences, even during high load conditions, while protecting speech services. This approach allows greater control of the arrival rate in the network, in order to maintain a steady flow of users.
“We decided to apply WCDMA Flow of Users solution due to a large number of users,” said Patricia Resende, Network Quality Manager, Vivo. “The network needed to be modernized and we needed to address bottlenecks in the network.”
Applying the solution secures lower latency and higher rates for active smartphones. This means that smartphones will be connected in less time, thereby consuming fewer resources and allowing for greater data consumption anytime, anywhere. Additionally, it provides stable application coverage which reduces the dropped call rate in the network. The WCDMA solution ensures that voice is always prioritized.
Vivo is able to provide a more efficient network with improved app coverage and voice quality even during very high loads. Importantly for customers, the solution minimizes connection time for faster browsing and app usage. This has increased user satisfaction and improved brand perception, which in turn leads to greater usage of data per month.
As a result of the project, Vivo has achieved 3 times higher uplink throughput and reduced its dropped call rate by 30 percent. The operator has also seen downlink throughput double in stationary tests and circuit switched accessibility is protected against packet switch services.
“The benefits regarding this solution are threefold,” said José Pedro Nascimento. “First, we expect to have an increase in revenue; second, a reduction on the churn rate; and third, our network will use the resources more efficiently so we can have further gains in capex and network optimization.”
The project involved many complex tasks, and demanded a high level of cooperation and coordination in a very short time frame. Activities included running software upgrades, reconfiguring the site, activating features and defining parameter settings.
Ericsson took an holistic approach providing end-to-end support whilst working closely with the Vivo team to deliver a high quality solution on time.
“This experience with Ericsson was great. It was possible to discuss and identify the best configuration of access network in order to improve the user experience,” said Aluízio Rangel Baêta Neves, Radio Frequency Engineering Manager, Vivo. “This project was only possible because of close cooperation between the Vivo and Ericsson teams.”