The 450 MHz frequency band was initially introduced in Europe because of its ‘perfect’ propagation characteristics. These characteristics are a result of the use of lower frequency. Lower frequencies come with two chief advantages:
- Lower frequency results in larger radio cells. As network costs largely depend on the number of radio sites required for coverage, DSOs could ideally build or use dedicated networks in radio frequencies lower than GSM/GPRS (in 900 MHz) or LTE (in 800 MHz), and benefit from lower investment and operation costs.
The direct impact of spectrum and coverage is shown in the figure below.
As rule of thumb, a doubling of the spectrum (and therewith a halving of the radio wave lengths) results in a 3-4 times increase in the number of base stations required.
- Lower frequency results in better in-building penetration in houses and other types of premises where Smart Meters are located, with a very tangible effect even if compared to the GSM/GPRS cellular network operating at the higher 900 MHz frequency band.
Operators who have 450 MHz spectrum licenses are seeking new business models which fit the beneficial characteristics of the 450 band – best coverage and building penetration of any cellular spectrum, low network cost due to limited number of radio sites – in combination with available standardized 3G/4G/LTE technologies that can provide high performing wireless services despite the limited spectrum amount.