Spotlight on LATAM
Looking back at the last 12 months, what have been some of the highlights for RFS?
2020 has been something of a unique year, but we have been very busy at RFS in LATAM working across the telecommunications ecosystem. This has included big projects in the Mission Critical Comms space, such as improving indoor coverage on oil and gas platforms in Brazil to ensure worker safety. We’ve also provided top tier operators with Base Station Antennas for 4G roll outs – including for the two largest 4G projects outside Brazil, and at the same time made sure our portfolio is perfectly placed to offer the best possible 5G ready solutions as this becomes a focus across LATAM.
You mentioned 5G ready solutions, can you tell us more about the deployment of 5G in the region?
In a recent keynote looking at 5G in LATAM, the GSMA director general Mats Granryd urged governments and regulators in the region to accelerate the roll out of 5G to help meet increased demand for digital technologies in a post Covid world. We are already starting to see this acceleration and are heavily focused at RFS on providing solutions that will serve operators for both current and future communication needs. One of the ways we are doing this is with hybrid solutions that support all 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G technologies within a single radome, for both macro and small cell sites.
What are the biggest 5G challenges you expect to see in LATAM over the coming year?
There are undoubtedly a range of stumbling blocks that operators will encounter during 5G roll out – it is inevitable when moving to a new network generation. However, two of the most significant challenges facing operators are site constraints and indoor coverage.
Because 5G is not a replacement for previous generations of mobile technology, it is not simply a case of rip and replace when it comes to equipment. Instead, operators are having to use the space they already have, that is already packed with infrastructure and use it to deliver more capacity than ever before. Because of this we have a huge focus at RFS on equipment that offers more functionality, in less space – such as our hybrid solutions that combine technologies, to help operators consolidate their equipment and meet the need for 5G without compromise.
Beyond the base station, operators face additional hurdles when it comes to 5G, particularly how to enable outdoor sites, to cover indoor environments as its higher frequency makes building penetration an issue. 5G is being touted as an alternative to broadband for the LATAM market, but this cannot be realized if the challenges around indoor coverage are not tackled effectively. We’re working with operators on a range of turnkey solutions that will help to address the problem and ensure that 5G can reach its potential, regardless of environment.
What are the trends we will see in LATAM as operators look to roll out 5G?
Alongside the challenges operators are facing, we expect 5G to bring a variety of new trends that will have a huge impact on the industry. At RFS we have dedicated significant efforts to making sure we are ready to support our customers as they explore the following:
- 5G DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) As Anatel has not yet auctioned new dedicated 5G frequency bands, we expect to see a rise in Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, with 4G LTE connections and the future 5G network running on the same frequency. RFS has a complete portfolio of RF equipment for implementing this technology, from antennas and jumpers to cables and multiplexers.
- O-RAN: This is a move towards a more open network infrastructure, the aim is that this will accelerate the development and implementation of new technologies, as well as giving operators more flexibility and freedom.
- Network Densification: We’re seeing an exponential increase in the demand for mobile data and the infrastructure must keep pace. Our R&D teams have been focusing on developing a range of solutions to address this, from macro site infrastructure to serve multiple network technologies, to compact street level equipment for end to end connectivity.
Ultimately, 5G will be a catalyst for huge evolution in the telecoms industry and at RFS we are ready to support our customers through this.
If you’d like to speak to RFS about your 4G, 5G or Mission Critical Communication challenges get in touch with Wilson Conti, VP Sales LATAM.