& cplSiteName &

WiFi: Small Cells' Trojan Horse?

Sarah Thomas
2/25/2014
50%
50%

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Obtaining the rights for public-access small cells is one of the biggest impediments to deployments, but Ruckus Wireless CEO Selina Lo has a plan: let WiFi be small cells' Trojan horse.

Her theory is that if a network operator starts with WiFi in a city, they'll have a much better shot of deploying a small cell in the same spot at a later date. The rights process is much easier with WiFi, but it's a significant challenge to small cells.

In fact, according to 23% of the Light Reading community, obtaining rights from the city to install small cells is the single biggest challenge in public access deployments. It was voted second only to deploying new backhaul, which 35% of the community chose. (See Small Cells in the City .)

So, here's where the Ruckus Wireless Inc. chief's plan comes into play. Operators don't have the time or resources to spend negotiating with local governments for rights to their "city furniture," typically lampposts or traffic lights on which they can attach their small cells. But, there has been a resurgence in municipal WiFi of late. Lo said that cities recognize connectivity as a need, and it's a need they want to fulfill, preferably with partners.

"For a lot of service providers, this is another means to acquire sites, using WiFi as a Trojan horse," Lo told Light Reading in Barcelona. "WiFi is well understood; cities understand it, but a city could not implement small cells. By giving the city WiFi, they may let them attach small cells on the same post."

Ruckus is already working with the likes of San Francisco and San Jose, where it is creating its own goodwill by donating thousands of WiFi access points to provide connectivity in busy outdoor areas. These deployments didn't actually start with a network operator -- the cities decided not to wait but are open to leasing their networks to operators after the fact. But they are also just the start of what could be the resurgence in muni-WiFi. (See San Fran Taps Ruckus to Unwire its Outdoors, O2 Brings a Wi-Fi Ruckus to the Wharf, and Ruckus Eyes Carrier Deals After $126M IPO.)

"Now that the city has recognized [connectivity] as a need, it will be good for operators," Lo said. "They can really negotiate. The city has the need. If they can give them terms that are acceptable, it's a win-win."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
danny_be
50%
50%
danny_be,
User Rank: Lightning
3/3/2014 | 9:31:31 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
There is no dought that small cells are essential for enhancing capacity. To ilustrate that, look at this chart thaken from NGMN and Small Cell Forum releases:

mhhf1ve
100%
0%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 7:07:20 PM
What's the business model for municipal WiFi?
There have been several proposed WiFi project for cities over the years, and I'm not sure any of them had a really good business model. Giving away free internet access, and then inserting ads or hoping that foot traffic to businesses would increase municipla revenues is a pretty big stretch.

The limited coverage of WiFi also makes it a bit difficult to see a profit model -- because a city needs to deploy access points every few hundred yards to get decent reliability of service. 

Am I missing something? What's really changed in the WiFi landscape? The demand for broadband connectivity has always existed, but is it really that much higher now? And if it is, isn't it being supplied by wireless telcos?
chuckj
50%
50%
chuckj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 1:52:58 PM
Re: Missed opportunity?
Telco's are blocking small cell deploymnets because their business model is based on over subscription and they only consider small cells for coverage in extreme cases.  There is no business case for any hardware maker to make small cells for Telco, but with dedicated spectrum small cells for Enterprise is a huge market.
Sarah Thomas
100%
0%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 8:43:32 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
I think the difference between current muni-WiFi and failures of the past is, for one thing, the appetite for WiFi is much stronger now. People think it's their right to be connected. Also, companies like Ruckus are donating all the APs, so the upfront investment is minimal for the city. They just have to allow it on their furniture. Monetization comes after from services, ads, premium service, etc.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 8:42:02 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
Telcos are anxious to count both as customers. How do you think they're preventing it? Pricing?
gk998
50%
50%
gk998,
User Rank: Lightning
2/25/2014 | 8:15:28 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
Not sure I see any business case for any Municipal/Local Authority (MLA) to bear the cost of a standalone WiFi deployment (there have been several cases where public cash has been spent but the deployment has been woeful or failed entirely).
I do see a case where an Operator can entice the MLA to be a proactive facilitator WRT the deployment, this is done by deploying Small Cells with integral Wifi capability.  the trade off is that the Operator provides the WiFi aspects FoC (i.e. HW & Integration services) and the MLA grants the rights to the sites (including power and assistance with the initial backhaul section).  OK so not all the locations desired by each party will match up but there should be sufficient to cover the interest of both parties.
chuckj
50%
50%
chuckj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 6:58:37 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
Small cells have to have a defined spectrum like wifi. The problem is not the politician, the problem is the Telco monopoly on the spectrum. The businesses are hungry for having an open channel for localized ads to the customers smart phone, and the customers are hungry for free voice and data wherever possible, it is the Telco that is preventing that.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 5:35:53 AM
Missed opportunity?
I wonder how many more cities will follow the trend of deploying WiFi without an operator partner. They may want to get on work on getting in with the cities beforhand rather than after. Seems like they might have more wiggle room that way.
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom on what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia Introduces Virtual Service Router for More Rapid Service

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


James Cumming, product line manager for virtualized service routers at Nokia, demonstrates how the virtual router based off the Nokia ecosystem changes the network function experience.
LRTV Custom TV
The Keys to SD-WAN Success

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa Networks CEO Kelly Ahuja talks about the key requirements for service provider-managed SD-WANs.
LRTV Custom TV
Intel & Cisco on Joint 5G Solutions

4|5|17   |     |   (0) comments


Dave Ward, SVP and CTO of Cisco, is joined by Sandra Rivera, corporate VP and general manager of network platforms group of Intel, on the revolutionary 5G technology that changes networking and computing fundamentally.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Time for a Telecom Reboot
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 4/19/2017
Comcast Ready for Clash With Hulu
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/18/2017
Unlicensed: It's What's Next for US Mobile Operators
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/19/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Pai Picks Up Deregulatory Pace
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 4/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
Now That's an Ad Campaign Click Here
Meerkats to the rescue!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.