Light Reading
Single-mode public access LTE small cells are easier to produce & deploy but -- as ever -- don't expect them to arrive on the market at any great speed.

MWC 2014: Single-Mode 4G Small Cells Ahoy?

Dan Jones
2/20/2014
50%
50%

One of the trends to watch for at Mobile World Congress is the emergence of more single-mode and dual-mode small cells for public access and the enterprise.

Dual-mode enterprise small cells are useful for businesses that already have corporate WiFi but need to improve cellular coverage in their offices. We might even see more than just talk about deployments in 2014. (See SpiderCloud Eyes LTE Enterprise Small Cells in 2014, Joint Qualcomm & AlcaLu Small Cells Due Mid-Year, and Ericsson Expects Smooth Sailing for Radio Dot .)

Small cell chip vendors are telling me, however, that carriers might -- in the near-ish future -- buck the conventional wisdom that public access small cells will be all-singing, all-dancing multi-mode affairs that support 3G, 4G, and WiFi. Instead we could start to see more single-mode LTE units on the scene. (See AT&T: Multimode Small Cells by Early 2015.)

The reason for this is two-fold: Operators, particularly in the US, are going back to fill in coverage holes in their LTE deployments and need better 4G coverage and capacity for future service offerings such as voice-over-LTE and broadcast LTE.

In January, Kris Rinne, senior vice president of network technology at AT&T Labs, told me that the operator is testing LTE-only small cells for outdoor use.

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. , meanwhile, is targeting its next line of small cell chips at LTE devices. Another vendor, Cavium Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: CAVM), is also expecting to see more operators move to single-mode LTE.

"The number of operators in that category will actually grow," says Raj Singh, GM of the wireless broadband group at Cavium. Partly this will depend on what spectrum carriers have access to.

"[Single-mode] is much easier to deploy," adds Singh.

Cavium is also looking at operators that move straight from 2G to 4G in parts of India, Africa, and other markets. Singh says that a future product will feature LTE and GSM to support voice and data.

Still, as ever, don't expect any of the transitions on the public access small cell market to happen quickly. Freescale isn't expecting its silicon to be in commercial products until 2015, while Cavium is shooting for the fall of 2014. (See How Heavy Reading Called Small Cells Right.)

"I think this is another year of trials and limited deployments," Cavium's Singh says, while stressing that the company has started to see revenue from small cells (though Cavium won't say how much).

The enterprise side of the house looks poised to move quicker than that, though. Business small cells are easier to deploy because they don't require local government approvals and can often be powered via a customer's existing Ethernet network.

If you're at all confused about the differences between home, enterprise, and public access small cells, check out this article: Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/20/2014 | 12:16:12 PM
Re: Verizon & AlcaLu
Good point. ALU didn't offer up the scope or location of the deployment or how many need new backhaul, but perhaps those are things we can figure out next week at the show.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
2/20/2014 | 11:50:09 AM
Re: Verizon & AlcaLu
Yeah, a tiny bit validated already, although we don't know what is live with AlcaLu's LTE small cells at VZN yet. Nonetheless, Verizon is one of the operators that really, really needs the best LTE coverage it can get if it plans to do things like VoLTE and Broadcast LTE though.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/20/2014 | 11:41:46 AM
Verizon & AlcaLu
Definitely agree with trend, Dan. In fact, Verizon announced today it's deploying Alcatel-Lucent's LTE small cells. AlcaLu has multimode ones coming mid year that I imagine Verizon will use too, but it's not looking to wait for them.
More Blogs from Jonestown
The soaring bids for the FCC's AWS-3 auction will likely impact its planned Incentive auction and carrier capex plans, among other things.
They didn't really think this through, did they...
The company appears to working towards VoLTE support on the iPad, but it's not exactly clear when that will happen.
Will 5G become a worthless term before the communications standard is even defined?
CFO Carter Braxton says that T-Mobile's network was 'much more dense' from the buildout.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (1) comment


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
LRTV Documentaries
2020 Vision: A First View

12|9|14   |   02:25   |   (3) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Iceland, unique Heavy Reading research shows that comms service providers are optimistic about the next five or so years.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Cisco Makes Big Analytics Push
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/11/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive