Machine-Type Communication (MTC) is an important revenue stream for operators and has a huge potential from the operator perspective. There are several industry fora working on an efficient M2M system with some industry members developing a new access technology dedicated for MTC. However, it is more efficient for operators to be able to serve MTC UE using already deployed radio access technology. Therefore it is important for operators to understand whether LTE could be a competitive radio access technology for efficient support of MTC. It is envisaged that MTC UE's will be deployed in huge numbers, large enough to create an eco-system on its own. Lowering the cost of MTC UE's is an important enabler for implementation of the concept of "internet of things". MTC UE's used for many applications will require low operational power consumption and are expected to communicate with infrequent small burst transmissions.
In addition, there is a substantial market for the M2M use cases of devices deployed deep inside buildings which would require coverage enhancement in comparison to the defined LTE cell coverage footprint.
This TR captures various features and their modifications to reduce cost and improve coverage along with various hardware simplifications that will enable production of low-cost MTC UE's. EGPRS multi-slot class 2 is assumed as a benchmark for cost comparison and minimum data rate capability.
As LTE deployments evolve, operators would like to reduce the cost of overall network maintenance by minimising the number of RATs. Machine-Type Communications (MTC) is a market that is likely to continue expanding in the future. Many MTC UE's are targeting low-end (low average revenue per user, low data rate) applications that can be handled adequately by GSM/GPRS. Owing to the low-cost of these devices and good coverage of GSM/GPRS, there is very little motivation for MTC UE suppliers to use modules supporting the LTE radio interface. As more and more MTC UE's are deployed in the field, this naturally increases the reliance on GSM/GPRS networks. This will cost operators not only in terms of maintaining multiple RATs, but it will also prevent operators from reaping the maximum benefit out of their spectrum (given the non-optimal spectrum efficiency of GSM/GPRS). Given the likely high number of MTC UE's, the overall resource they will need for service provision may be correspondingly significant, and inefficiently assigned.
Therefore, it is necessary to find a solution to ensure that there is a clear business benefit to MTC UE vendors and operators for migrating low-end MTC UE's from GSM/GPRS to LTE networks.