Too many operators still consider small cells an engineering-led solution for plugging network holes rather than a business-led solution for launching new services. This is the warning from small cell specialist ip.access, backed up by research commissioned by Yankee Group.
The run up to MWC has seen several equipment vendors gearing up their small cell strategy as operators move on from plugging coverage gaps to boosting their service offerings with the technology.
Swedish vendor Ericsson will unveil a managed services business model later this month during MWC that will see it take ownership of small cell infrastructure on behalf of operators. The Small cell as a Service offering is designed for high capacity environments that also experience peaky demand, such as sport stadiums, allowing operators to ‘fill in’ for capacity needs without densifying the macro network.
Heavy users of mobile data services are ten times more extreme in the LTE era than on 3G, with just 0.1 per cent of mobile users in both developed and emerging markets consuming over half the LTE downlink data. This compares to one per cent of 3G users consuming half the downlink data.
Senior technology architect at Telus: “Operators should look towards policy management solutions to ensure subscribers get a consistent QoE”
Ricky Gill, senior technology architect at Telus is speaking in the “Handling the Mobile Data Explosion” track on Day Two of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA.
In the densely populated urban areas of many markets, mature and emerging, cellular telephony has reached or is nearing saturation. Competition in these metropolitan markets is fierce and mobile operators are now intent on expanding their reach into remote and rural areas in a bid to drive further growth in subscriptions and revenues.
Small cells are a vital part of the future broadband network, Alcatel Lucent corporate CTO Marcus Weldon told delegates at Broadband World Forum in his keynote address. Weldon noted that mobile computing is now the dominant form of computing due to the success of tablets, which introduced just a few years ago, are now processing more data globally than desktop PCs and laptops.
US operators will begin trials of an indoor coverage solution provided by Ericsson in Q2 next year, based on a small cell product that weighs just 300 grams. While it has not officially named a first trial partner, a comment provided for the product’s launch release puts AT&T squarely in the frame. Sebastian Tolstoy, head of business development and strategy for Ericsson’s radio division told Telecoms.com: “As you can see from the release the first operators we’ll go to market with are American operators.”
LTE must be evolved to keep pace with the huge forecast growth in demand for capacity and the need for service enhancement.
Silicon vendor Qualcomm has outlined plans to drastically increase capacity in mobile networks. The vendor believes that, by using its technology, operators will be able to provide a thousand times more bandwidth capacity than today, while also reducing costs.
Head of network, Vodafone Netherlands: “The introduction of small cells is the next step in serving customers”
Matthias Sauder, head of network, Vodafone is appearing at the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out more about Vodafone’s upcoming LTE launch in the Netherlands and how the network can best be optimised.
CTO, SK Telecom, South Korea: “SDN and network virtualisation hold great promise for mobile carriers”
Dr J W Byun, the CTO of SK Telecom, South Korea is speaking on Day One of the LTE World Summit, taking place on 24-26 June 2013 at The RAI, Amsterdam. Ahead of the show we speak to him about how SK Telecom has been able to extend its global lead in LTE and gives some insights into what he sees coming down the line for telecoms.
Technology innovation appeared thin on the ground at this year’s Mobile World Congress, but the challenge of enhancing performance and capacity by better utilising existing network resources remained a key focus for many network vendors.
Bengt Nordstrom, founder of industry consultancy NorthStream, shares a series of predictions for the mobile industry in 2013. In this third instalment he says that LTE rollouts will result in operators requiring less small cells than had previously been the case, ending the “small cell debate”.
Almost all operators (98 per cent) believe that small cells are essential for the future of their networks, according to a report from Informa Telecoms and Media. The research firm’s quarterly small-cell market status report also highlights significant new technological progress with operators announcing major public access deployments and the first dual-mode LTE/3G devices.
Any modern communications network is a complex architectural arrangement. By 2013 it’s likely that a mobile network operator will have 2G, 3G and LTE operations running in parallel, with support infrastructure such as backhaul that has been updated and augmented over the years. As networks mature, they also evolve—the trend right now is to alleviate RAN congestion with smaller cells, increasing network density but also putting extra burden on the backhaul infrastructure. In order to keep pace, backhaul implementations also need to evolve.
The global number of small cells now exceeds the total number of traditional mobile base stations, according to research published this week.
Chipmaker Qualcomm has strengthened its small cell portfolio by acquiring a firm that specialises in modem and system design for base stations and high-speed wireless backhaul infrastructure.
Public access small cells will outnumber macro cells by Q4 2012, according to a report from Informa Telecoms & Media.
Mobile operator O2 UK has revealed that it expects to run out of spectrum on its macro cell layer around 2014. Speaking at a round table briefing hosted by the Small Cells Forum, Telefonica UK’s chief radio engineer Robert Joyce said that, “As we see it, with the increasing demand from tablets and smartphones the macro cell will not be able to cope. We can take the macro cell grid to eight times its current capacity and then we’ll run out of spectrum.”