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GUEST BLOG: Down to the Wire

Navin Vohra | Oct. 3, 2012
The alternative to copper cables.

Navin Vohra, Vice President, Wireless Sales, Asia Pacific and India, CommScope modified

Navin Vohra is Vice President, Wireless Sales, Asia Pacific and India, for CommScope.


Earlier in June 2012, Swedish provider of telecoms and data communication systems, Ericsson, reported that global mobile penetration reached 87 percent in the first quarter of the year. Much of the growth in the telecommunications and data sectors in recent years can be attributed to developing marketing in the Asia Pacific region with service providers rolling out large, nation-wide infrastructures.

Singapore boasts one of the highest penetration rates in Asia and the market does not expect a slowdown in growth for subscriber numbers due to continued demand for 3G services and multiple device ownership. On the other hand, while 3G uptake has slowed down in Malaysia, subscriber numbers are still expected to increase from 11.2 million in 2012 to 12.9 million by 2016. The Malaysian mobile market is expected to continuously grow as the number of subscribers is set to hit 41.73 million by 2016, yielding a penetration rate of about 134 percent.

Aggressive competition

With the increase in demand for cellular technologies across Singapore and Malaysia, mobile operators are tasked with the challenge of meeting subscriber demands without compromising on service delivery. Operators in both countries are aware of how aggressively the market is being contested and this has led them to stipulate that their infrastructure should perform at the highest levels to avoid the risk of losing customers to the competition. Yet as mobile operators move forward in this highly competitive landscape, they are plagued by multiple operational challenges that prevent them from achieving their goals.

One of the main challenges operators face is the rising cost of installing towers with standard corrugate copper cables.  The situation of the world's stagnation of copper supply coupled with no lax in demand for the metal has led to increased operating expenditure (Opex). Additionally, the heavy weight of copper cables also results in additional transportation costs from factory to base sites and is difficult to install. Another issue that operators have to battle is theft in rural areas, where corrugated cables have their copper finishing scraped off to be sold illegally.

Better performance

A solution to these problems would be for operators to replace copper cables with coaxial cables. Results from trials carried out by operators in India and China using coaxial cables have revealed that the cables deliver consistent and superior performance over copper cables as they are designed to be much lighter, stronger and more efficient. The solid triple-bonded construction with crush and tensile strength allows the cables to withstand difficult installations without cable stretching or denting damage to radio frequency performance. A foam filled inner conductor also offers better weather resistance as compared to copper cables.

Operators reported cost savings of up to 15-20 percent over corrugated copper cables with zero maintenance requirements. Several hundred million of such cables have been deployed around the world over the past 10 years and many industry leaders have come to recognise that these cables are an ideal alternative and investment for swift network deployments, easy manipulation during installation, and durability.

As operators in Singapore and Malaysia move forward in the highly competitive telecommunications landscape, they will find that coaxial cables afford them a greater competitive edge.

Having met the various performance benchmarks of OEM customers and wireless operators around the world, these cables are the ideal alternative to corrugated copper cables whether deployed in harsh outdoor climates or indoors.


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