Network Benchmarking and Optimization for Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia

About the Client and the Background

  • Ethio Telecom is the government owned monopoly operator of Ethiopia.
  • They operate GSM, UMTs, LTE and CDMA Network.
  • The equipment OEMs are Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE.
  • Being a monopoly operator, the focus on quality was progressively diluted. The network quality degraded considerably over a period of time.
  • Addis Ababa (Capital city of Ethiopia) is the centre of many humanitarian and UN missions, due to which many foreign dignitaries visit the country regularly.
  • Most of the time, when the dignitaries faced quality issues, they complained directly to their counterparts in
  • Ethiopian government. As a result, even the Ethiopian Prime Minister was well aware of quality problems on real time basis.
  • After a series of such complaints, the Ethiopian PM instructed the Deputy PM to take charge and ensure that network quality is improved.
  • Innovis was selected to lead the quality improvement initiative

Objective of Innovis Engagement

  • Perform a thorough Drive Test of the network across Addis Ababa (Phase 1) and other main cities (Phase 2) to gather network quality data.
  • Create the KPI baseline to report the current network quality picture
  • Analyze the network quality data and make recommendations for quality improvement.
  • Seek approval of Ethio Telecom’s management on the network optimization methodology.
  • Make the approved changes to network parameters as agreed with the Ethio Telecom Management.
  • Perform a drive test once again to showcase improvement in network quality to Ethio Telecom.

Innovis Approach

Data Capture

  • In phase 1, we focused on Addis Ababa, the source of more than 50% voice and data traffic in the network.
  • We deputed a team of 12 experts on various network subsystems to conduct the network audit.
  • We interviewed key people from Ethio Telecom organisation to understand key bottlenecks in the network and geographical areas of customer complaints.
  • Extensive Drive tests were conducted all over Addis Ababa. Following tools were used –
    • Drive Testing (DT) — XCAL P8+
    • DT Data Processing and Analysis — XCAL
    • Frequency Interference — Rhode & Schwartz Frequency Scanner
    • RAN, Core, Transmission and IP Data — NMS of respective vendors
  • NMS data was collected by Innovis’ NMS experts.

Data Analysis

  • Checked the accuracy of reporting by the vendors by comparing with raw data from network management system.
  • Analysed NMS data for Radio, Core, Transmission and IP.
  • Processed and analysed drive test data using Actix post processing tool.

Network Improvement

  • We found that capacity was not properly allocated across the network. Some cells were facing massive congestion while some were barely carrying traffic. The first step in network improvement was to balance the network resource allocation.
    There were significant gaps in neighbour definitions leading to handover failures. The same were corrected.
  • We recommended stronger network O&M process because the availability of a large number of cells was way below global standards.
  • We also recommended adding more capacity in certain areas of the network.

The Outcome

The data below articulates the outcome of various changes made on network performance.

Changes Implemented
  • *221 cells with low utilization selected to improve the data experience in BSC01
  • *FPDCH & Dynamic PDCH capacity increased
  • *Achieved a better capacity balance between voice and data.
  • Data network got more capacity without any impact to voice network.
Outcome Achieved
  • *Major improvement noticed in these 221 cells
  • *Data Download in Cell Busy Hour increased by 30%, from
    17 GB to 22 GB
  • *Daily Data Download increased by 40 % from 222 GB to 310 GB
Changes Implemented
  • *Comprehensive data collected through drive testing and OSS Logs.
  • *After through analysis, it was decided to implement changes in certain key parameters to enhance data throughput at Gb Interface and HSDPA
Outcome Achieved
  • *Major improvement achieved in 4 month period.
  • *More than 250% increase in Gb Network throughput
  • *More than 350% increase in HSDPA throughput

250% to 350% increase in Network Data throughout in 4 months

Changes Implemented
  • *221 cells with low utilization selected to improve the data experience in BSC01
  • *FPDCH & Dynamic PDCH capacity increased
  • *Achieved a better capacity balance between voice and data.
  • Data network got more capacity without any impact to voice network.
Outcome Achieved
  • *Major improvement noticed in these 221 cells
  • *Data Download in Cell Busy Hour increased by 30%, from
    17 GB to 22 GB
  • *Daily Data Download increased by 40 % from 222 GB to 310 GB
Changes Implemented
  • *Comprehensive data collected through drive testing and OSS Logs.
  • *After through analysis, it was decided to implement changes in certain key parameters to enhance data throughput at Gb Interface and HSDPA
Outcome Achieved
  • *Major improvement achieved in 4 month period.
  • *More than 250% increase in Gb Network throughput
  • *More than 350% increase in HSDPA throughput

250% to 350% increase in Network Data throughout in 4 months