Mobile Wimax implementation in Ghana- a comparative radio interface dimensioning and a techno-economic study

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The voice market in Ghana as it stands now is saturated. Migration to integrated service platforms (e.g. voice, data, video) with mobility- leaves both incumbent and prospective mobile operators with two investment choices-3G+ HSDPA or the Mobile WiMAX. HSDPA is a data enhancement on the voice-centric 3GPP system whilst Mobile WiMAX is intrinsically a data-centric technology being optimized with voice-support and mobility functionalities. HSDPA is already being rolled out by mobile carrier giants, MTN and Airtel. Currently, the country’s communications regulator is auctioning the 2.5-2.69 GHz RF spectrum to prospective licensees to fulfill its quest to actualize the country’s National Broadband Strategy. One of the most essential technical and business issues of any wireless access technology is efficiently (cost and performance) providing coverage and capacity, while avoiding the initial roll-out of a large number of new cell sites to reduce initial investment. In this study the researcher, through a radio interface dimensioning study, investigated the technical relevance of one of the technologies for which the aforementioned band is being auctioned- the Mobile WiMAX; yet doing so in comparison with the HSDPA which is already a commercial reality in Ghana. It was discovered that WiMAX’s OFDMA radio interface coupled with such technical features as Adaptive Modulation Coding schemes, Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request, Frequency Reuse and the MIMO made it a preferred investment candidate for the new market entrant. By performing a techno-economic evaluation of the WiMAX 16e technology using Accra Metropolis as the study area, the researcher concluded that even with worst-case market share scenario the new entrant could arrive at a positive NPV and still break-even early in time within the 10 year license period as stipulated by the National Communications Authority.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy