Advisory firm Wireless 20/20 LLC says its newest version of its WiROI Tool now provides wireless operators with a way to analyze the economic impact of offloading 3G/4G data to Wi-Fi.

The WiROI 4G WiFi Offloading Business Case Analysis Tool is part of the company’s latest study and business case analysis, which concluded that deploying Wi-Fi offload networks could mitigate 3G/4G traffic congestion in high-traffic areas “substantially.” By being able to analyze the tradeoffs of deploying a Wi-Fi offload network compared to deploying primary network hardware, Wireless 20/20 says the tool can help carriers parse  “the conditions where Wi-Fi deployment can help the most, determine the investment required, and optimize the configuration of the Wi-Fi offload network to maximize ROI.”

Here’s how it works: Company literature says the WiROI Tool can model all of the technical, financial and commercial parameters for an operator’s 3G and 4G network deployment. By modeling all capex, opex and revenues for a 3G/4G network, the tool outputs a 10-year income statement. The addition of the Wi-Fi offload module enables the analysis of the total cost of ownership (TCO) tradeoff between deploying a Wi-Fi offload network and adding additional capacity into the 3G/4G network. “Further, the new version of the WiROI Tool allows operators to pinpoint the optimal WiFi coverage and access point density that will maximize the return for an operator,” it adds.

As an example, Wireless 20/20 analyzed the impact of deploying Wi-Fi offloading from a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in New York City. To provide 4G LTE service in NYC, an operator needs 216 cellsites for adequate coverage. To keep up with the expected increase in demand for data during the next 10 years, the LTE coverage in NYC would have to be supplemented with an additional 1,879 cellsites. The company found that deploying a Wi-Fi offload network in NYC “will significantly reduce the burden of data traffic carried by the 4G LTE network and results in 7.2-percent reduction in the TCO over the 10 year period.)

Other NYC Wi-Fi conclusions:

>> Optimum ROI is achieved with 33,138 access points placed in high-traffic areas spread over a 789-square-kilometer area.
>> The average density of access points would be 42 per square kilometer.
>> Total capex for deploying the Wi-Fi access network would be $41 million, while the 10-year cumulative opex would be $59 million.
>> The number of capacity cells would be reduced to 432, a savings of 1,447 LTE sites.
>> TCO would be reduced by $253 million, and Cumulative Free Cash Flow would improve by $287 million.

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