Sunday, 22 March 2015

10 million small cells and growing?

There were some good news that was announced in MWC 2015. Here are some interesting points from Total Telecom:

  • Operators around the globe have purchased more than 10 million small cells
  • In excess of 75 operators worldwide are using small cells in their networks
  • The majority of these to date have been deployed in residential scenarios, but we have also seen a significant step upward in the enterprise and urban sectors.
  • 17,000 small cells have been deployed in rural or remote applications

While this all sounds good, Small Cells are facing many challenges. The biggest among them being WiFi. With the introduction of VoWiFi, many operators are starting to play a waiting game rather than deploy more small cells.

I blogged back in 2013 that AT&T planned to deploy 40,000 small cells by 2015 but it looks like they have now abandoned their goal. The reason being cited is that they acquired another small operator (Leap Wireless) which gave them additional macro sites, hence removing the need for small cells.

As per a report by the analyst firm ThinkSmallCell, TalkTalk, a UK based "thick" MVNO is trying to deploy an "Inside-out" Femtocell network. They have also been experimenting with 3MHz bandwidth in LTE and surprisingly, it works fine on most devices.

TalkTalk Future Network
Another option could be to have LTE-LAA/LTE-U along with this and they could provide good speeds not only to the people indoor but also outdoor.

In any case, we will have to wait and see if operators continue rolling out small cells and if they do why, how, where and in which situations.