Coverage always is an issue for mobile networks.
“Sometimes you get 2G, sometimes you get 3G, and sometimes you get no G,” Rajan Anandan, head of Google India, said, referring to the inconsistent network availability and bandwidth challenges faced by mobile customers in urban India.
A 2014 by Ericsson found half of all connection issues encountered come because of indoor coverage gaps. Overall, about 44 percent of the time a mobile broadband smartphone user does not have access to the network.
That, in turn, is spurring firms such as Google and Facebook to tune their apps so they work under constricted bandwidth or “temporarily no bandwidth” conditions.
Facebook eliminated some graphic elements when necessary, while Google is working on store-and-forward techniques that allow apps to continue working when network access is temporarily unavailable.
Indoor coverage problem will not get easier, as higher-frequency spectrum is the main way new spectrum assets will be made available. In urban areas, that might substantially take the form of adding small cells (both outdoor radios and indoor cells).
But Wi-Fi offload and signal boosters are other ways to tackle the indoor coverage problem.
In rural areas, adding more cell sites is the main way coverage can be extended, as the newer frequencies–though better at capacity–are worse in terms of signal propagation.