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Starting a new network operator

Discussion in 'Working or Investing in the Wireless Industry' started by dcj, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. dcj

    dcj New Member

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    Hi,

    I see that variants of this question has been asked a few times in the past, but I'll give it a shot too.

    I work for a civil engineering firm that does a lot of public works projects for a (very) small country. Recently we have been approached by the government and investors to help start a new network operator to provide wireless services. Our firm wants to seize this opportunity, but where to begin? We are experts in physical infrastructure engineering but have no experience in wireless.

    Setting aside the business and politics of starting a network operator (that's someone else's department), what are the fundamental engineering questions that need to be asked to get started here? What are the very specific engineering disciplines I need to be hiring for (please don't say "telecom engineer").

    Thanks!
     
  2. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Wow, it's not so easy, even to set up a small network you need alot of people wearing alot of different hats. I've been engineering cellular networks 10+ years from all different angles (cell planning, backhaul, billing/mediation, etc) and even I would have trouble figuring out where to start.

    I'd advise you to outsource the network, if possible, to another company who has more experience in that sort of thing. You could start by contacting a hardware vendor (ex: Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, NSN) and ask them for more info. Vendors can sell you the hardware, and services in one package making it easier (and usually cheaper) for everyone.

    Good luck! :)
     
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  3. dcj

    dcj New Member

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    Thanks, that helps me to think about the broad categories involved in such an effort. Here's how I think of them. What's missing at a high level? Appreciate your advice!

    Cell Site Planning
    Towers, Real Estate, and Construction
    Radios
    Backhaul and PSTN/Internet Access
    Core Network and MSC
    Telecom Software
    Vendor Management
    Regulatory

    Another way to look at my question, for anyone out there who works in the industry, is what are the organizational divisions within a network operator's operations unit? Is is it something similar to what I've mentioned above?
     
  4. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    You can add to your list billing/mediation, Performance Monitoring and Network Tuning, cell site technicians, customer service, ... and probably a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting off the top of my head. Googling and asking questions on forums isn't going to get you too far, you will need to consult pros, and really, a full turn-key outsourcing deal would be the cheapest and easiest way for you to go. Plenty of networks large and small find alot of cost savings that way. Have a look into it. But of course it's your call. Good luck :)
     
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  5. dlconsulting

    dlconsulting New Member

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    My company has deployed many small networks in conjunction with Alcatel Lucent, Erricson, Nokia. There are alot of aspects of the deploying such a project there are 2 major componants.

    The First is choosing your Technology and Vendor such as Erricson, they are going to offer financing to help deployment cost as well.

    Second is you will need a deployment/development company which handles pulling together all the recources from designing the network to building it and getting it on air. Such activities include:

    1) RF engeneering and Design (Mapping out all the tower locations and certifying the networks performance)
    2) Site Aquisition: Individuals working with RF Engineers choosing locations to build a cell tower, working with land owners and negotiating a long term lease
    3) Zoning/Entitlements: Working with local governments and municipalities to ensure your right to build each tower secured by a lease
    4) Perfoming any local and national regulatory compliance and environmental compliance
    5) Construction: Coordination of ordering materials and construction to get each site on air.

    I work with a turnkey vendor in the united states and have been doing exactly what you are looking for and have built over 2,000 sites nation wide.

    Contact me via PM.
     
    #5 dlconsulting, Feb 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2011

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