Development of a 5G techno-economic model in Switzerland and assessment of the implications of radiation limits, network sharing and bridging the digital gap

Project executed on behalf of The Swiss Office of Communications (OFCOM/BAKOM)

Project Objective

The advent of 5G networks is generating a number of policy and regulatory questions. Examples include concerns around non-ionising radiation (NIR) by mobile networks or the need to ensure equitable access to mobile broadband services in underserved areas. Switzerland, as one of the leading countries in 5G, needs to address these questions, a challenging task given the absence, at this early stage, of relevant international best practice as a possible reference. The Swiss Office of Communications (OFCOM) therefore commissioned Axon to develop a set of tools for the preparation of well-founded answers to certain policy questions related to the deployment of 5G networks.

Project Description

To this end, we developed a Bottom-Up techno economic model for 4G and 5G mobile networks in Switzerland which, among other tasks, allows the calculation of:

  • the costs of individual wholesale services
  • the costs of population coverage of particular areas (e.g. cantons) using different technologies (4G or 5G)
  • the number of 4G and/or 5G base stations required for handling a specific traffic volume or to provide coverage for a particular area
  • the effect of different Non-Ionising Radiation (NIR) limit values on the costs and the number of required base stations
  • the cost savings that may be achieved through network sharing
  • the specific costs of international roaming.

In order to develop such a complex techno-economic model, we have executed the following activities:

  • definition of a methodological framework to guide the development of the techno-economic model
  • development of the model for 4G and 5G networks, including a detailed analysis of the potential situation of 4G and 5G networks up until 2030.
  • consultation on the model with the MNOs in Switzerland.

Key Takeaways

The model provides OFCOM with a powerful tool to support decision-makers in taking the right actions to ensure that policy objectives can be achieved.