It’s an exciting time in the small cell industry, with deployment and operator interest both growing. We’ve put together a short summary of some of the big stories from the last couple of weeks, exploring some of the most interesting stories for anyone who needs to keep up-to-date on small cell news.
Taking Pressure off Core Networks
A recent presidential report in the US has touted small cell technology as part of a set of key technologies for taking some of the pressure off of core networks, enabling better use of existing spectrum. This is an argument that has been made by the small cell industry for years now, and it’s encouraging to see it beginning to have an impact on policy recommendations at the highest level. This isn’t the only instance of top-level discussions about small cells in the US either. Back in June, it was reported in The New York Times that the Federal Communications Commission will be holding proceedings about releasing a band of spectrum to operators, specifically to facilitate small cell installations.
Outdoor Small Cell Demand to Outstrip Metrocells
ABI Research has forecast that outdoor small cell shipments will outstrip metrocells in 2012, in terms of the number of units sold. Growth is expected to stay strong in subsequent years too, with shipments predicted to reach 9.3 million by 2012, 1.5 million of which will be outdoor femtocells, valued at $5.4 billion. These will amount to 50% of total revenue in the outdoor small cell market, and 89% of deployments, with the remainder expected to consist of pico- and microcell shipments. If you want know more about outdoor metrocell deployments in recent years, take a look at part one of the talk by Will Franks, Ubiquisys CTO and Co-Founder, at this year’s Small Cells World Summit. Part two looked at our smart cell technology, developed in collaboration with Intel.
4G Spectrum Auction To Begin Again?
The 4G spectrum auction could finally get moving again, according to The Guardian, with Ofcom announcing that is ready to deal with any litigation might arise. With so many competing interests involved in the auction – expected to raise at least £1.4 billion and probably much more – some form of litigation seems likely, with Three being the most recent operator to raise issues at the proposed plans. Bidding will begin in 2013, meaning that services will start to become available late next year, and it is estimated that 98% of the UK population will be covered by 2017. Ofcom is aiming for 4G services to be provided by at least four operators, a move which it believes will benefits UK consumers in terms of both lower prices and improved service.