The project objective is twofold:
- Verification of the quality of GSM-only users further to the refarming of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands;
- Analysis of the GSM retail market to provide useful information to the progressive introduction of novel technologies in mobile networks.
The evolution of the 2G networks towards next-generation systems has been continuously monitored. This has also led to a better understanding of the current status and development trends of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, which exploit 2G connectivity. This information is crucial in view of the spread of the Internet of things, since the new technologies for M2M (eg. NB-IoT) will necessarily find space next to the existing 2G connections, likely to be maintained for a considerable time.
The impact on the quality perceived by GSM-only users due to the refarming of the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz has been experimentally analysed through the assessments of blocking probability and dropping probability, which are obtained either through network counters or measurements.
The criteria adopted for the quality assessment are different and independent for the 900 and 1800 MHz. As an increasing number of former GSM sites has been converted to 3G/4G, it has been necessary to update the selection criteria and the methodologies to take into account more complex scenarios, such as the case where both the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz have been refarmed in the same geographical area or the case where two carriers in the 1800 MHz have been switched to systems other than GSM.
An additional topic which is the analysis of the GSM retail market, based on both network counters provided by the operators and information on the web made available by reliable sources. The information relates to data on the distribution of terminals and statistical evaluations of the traffic for both traditional mobile (2G, 3G, 4G) and machine-to-machine communications (M2M).
Data have been elaborated in an aggregate form to analyse the GSM retail market trends, providing, where possible, forecasts on the future trends of the use of different cellular technologies (2G, 3G, 4G) and different types of equipment (e.g. smartphones, M2M, tablets).