Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia Siemens Networks are the top vendors for self-organizing networks, which support mobile broadband deployment, according to a survey of telecom operators conducted by Infonetics Research.
SONs enable mobile broadband networks to be easier to plan, configure, manage, optimize and heal. The chief market drivers for deploying SON are reduction in operational expenses; improvement in capacity, quality and network performance; and small cell usage in the network, according to Infonetics.
"While SON is up and running in a few LTE networks around the world, we were surprised to find that some of the large incumbents we surveyed for our SON and optimization study have deployed SON as the key optimization tool in their 3G networks as well," said Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.
A full 80 percent of respondents said complexity was the number one barrier to deploying SON, and a majority of respondents considered SON an unproven and immature technology. Infonetics said that the operators surveyed represent one-third of the world's telecom capital expenditure and carrier revenue, and 16 percent of all mobile subscribers.
The survey found that the automatic neighbor relations function, which relieves the operator from having to manually provision and manage neighboring cells, is the most deployed SON feature among respondents.
According to a white paper prepared by Ericsson, SON features have resulted in 40 percent faster rollouts and as much as a 90 percent reduction in daily maintenance for new LTE networks.
"SON functionality is an essential enabler of affordable, desirable mobile-broadband services owing to its support of leaner service and network management, and of optimized coverage, capacity and high-quality rollouts through heterogeneous network deployments," the paper explained.