Report: 98% of Mobile Operators See Small Cells Essential for Networks
According to a latest small-cell market status report by Informa Telecoms & Media, 98% of mobile operator respondents believe small cells are essential for the future of their networks. Results are based on a survey with 280 respondents from around the world, although focused on Asia, Europe and North America and more than 30% of whom were operators.
Almost all the survey respondents believe that LTE will be the biggest technology driver for small-cell deployments over the next five years although interest in LTE-A is growing. There are now 46 small-cell deployments by operators, including nine of the top 10 operators by revenue globally, report adds.
The survey conducted for the report also found that 55% of the mobile operator respondents are most interested in public access deployments over the next 12 months followed by enterprise rollouts with 35% of responses. Almost half (49%) of operators said their greatest concern surrounding outdoor metro deployments are the planning issues (e.g., finding suitable sites, power, etc), followed by backhaul challenges – cited by 35%.
The report evaluated progress made by Virgin Media which has won a deal to roll out metrocells in several UK cities which will initially support only Wi-Fi but could support cellular in the future. It also assessed developments from NTT DoCoMo, which launches the world’s first dual-mode LTE/3G femtocell this month, and AT&T, which announced it will start rolling out 40K public access small cells in 1Q13 – Verizon and Sprint are expected to follow imminently.