Do you remember the beginnings of the cellular networks? Operators in those days were competing with each other and with any co-operation there was no way. Many people chose a provider, not because of the best price offer, but on the basis of which provider had the best coverage at the home and workplace. Today the situation is quite different. Some mobile carriers use national roaming to provide their customers with the ability to make calls and mobile internet access in the whole country. However, others prefer to share the same LTE base station.
Such cooperation is very beneficial for us, i.e. customers, because this translates into a better quality of services that we all use. From technical point of view, national roaming does not different from the usual roaming service. The only difference is that the transmission of data, voice and SMS messages is not extra charged. The co-operation with RAN Sharing looks different. Sharing the base station means that two operators use the same antenna installations. However, each of them further has its own backbone network.
There are 2 techniques of RAN Sharing: MOCN and MORAN.
At first, it may seem that these are two more incomprehensible abbreviations. However, without the knowledge of these concepts, it is hard to understand the synergy between the two operators. MOCN, i.e. Multi Operator Core Network, involves the construction of a multi-operator base station. This makes it possible to share radio spectrum owned by the two mobile carriers. For example, we have two operators, each of them has 10 MHz channel in the same frequency band. After combining the two radio frequency carriers, it is possible to build a base station transmitting the 4G LTE signal in the 20 MHz channel. Of course, customers of both operators can benefit equally from all radio resources.
MORAN model is a little less effective.
MORAN, i.e. Mobile Operator Radio Access Network, means that only the hardware installation of the base station is shared. This means that antennas transmit signals of the two operators at separated frequencies. This kind of cooperation does not provide the same benefits as sharing of radio spectrum in the case of MOCN. However, MORAN significantly reduces infrastructure costs of building LTE network. The maths are simple, the costs are shared between the two operators. The actions of many companies testify to the fact that this kind of business model works. It is true that none of the operators did not reveal what the financial benefits brought about such a strategy, but you can see that cooperation pays off.