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Samsung Snags Verizon 4G Small Cell Indoor Deal

Dan Jones

Verizon picked Samsung to provide 4G LTE indoor small cells for the small-to-medium business market, for the first time picking a supplier outside of its macro network vendors for the tiny basestations.

The vendor is preparing a system Verizon will start deploying later this year for business customers who want better LTE coverage indoors. Samsung says it will supply Verizon with "femtocells" that can support up to 60 simultaneous LTE users on the unit, as well as core network elements and a management system.

A small cell is a tiny -- relatively speaking -- self-contained basestation that extends coverage at the edge of the macro network. In theory, these units can help fix voice and data coverage holes, add capacity where needed, and increase data connection speed. Enterprise small cells now appear to be starting to taking off in some carrier markets. (See Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

Verizon Wireless has recently said that it is deploying Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s LTE small cells in indoor and outdoor environments. It has also made encouraging noises about Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Radio Dot system, which is expected to begin trials in the second quarter. (See Verizon Deploys AlcaLu's LTE Small Cells , Verizon Welcomes Ericsson's Radio Dot, and MWC 2014: Single-Mode 4G Small Cells Ahoy?)

AlcaLu and Ericsson are Verizon's existing suppliers for its macro LTE network. The SMB deal is a nice win for Samsung because Verizon has gone beyond its macro providers. Samsung appears to be growing its profile with LTE small cells in the US. It is also said to be supplying Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) with the 4G units. (See Sprint Has Samsung 4G LTE Small Cells: Analyst.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Blogger
3/4/2014 | 9:43:24 PM
Re: What ever happened to all the hype around femtocells?
VoLTE will need the best LTE coverage a carrier can provide.
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/4/2014 | 7:24:13 PM
Re: What ever happened to all the hype around femtocells?

 A lot could depend on how voice-over-LTE and mobile video traffic develops. 

Interesting thought.. How do you see home femtocells being dependent on VoLTE and mobile video traffic? I can unerstand how voice over LTE might be an important funcationality for a home user, but mobile video trends... don't seem to be that connected to home wireless networks in my mind? 

I'm also uncertain how LTE and residential wireline broadband can ever converge... given the sizable gap between them currently.... But maybe someday?

User Rank: Blogger
3/4/2014 | 6:49:33 PM
Re: What ever happened to all the hype around femtocells?
Arguably they have taken off, relative to other types of small cells at least.

Sprint & AT&T have each deployed over a million femtocells. They're perhaps not as exciting as public access small cells to vendors because they generally don't derive as much revenue as the bigger units or require new backhaul.

We might see a new inflection point at some time in the future for femtocells as a combo LTE/WiFi home offering. A lot could depend on how voice-over-LTE and mobile video traffic develops. 
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/4/2014 | 6:38:24 PM
What ever happened to all the hype around femtocells?
Femtocells were all the rage a few years back, but it doesn't seem like the technology has really taken off. Everyone still seems much more upbeat about all flavors of WiFi deployment, even after so many municipal WiFi projects have stalled or failed. 

What's limiting the deployment of femtocells to small businesses and enterprises? I could have sworn I saw some movements to try to make femtocells a consumer-grade device to help offload carrier network traffic to wireline pipes....
User Rank: Blogger
3/4/2014 | 12:31:38 PM
Re: Samsung & Vodafone
Probably good policy for VOD to have more one enterprise supplier for small cells, although this Samsung offering looks more tailored to SMB than the Spidercloud offering.
Gabriel Brown
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/4/2014 | 4:22:09 AM
Samsung & Vodafone
It's also worth noting that Samsung announced it had signed a frame agreement with Vodafone in Europe as part of the Project Spring investment:

It will be interesting to see how and where Vodafone uses Samsung, given that VOD has generally talked-up Single RAN (2G/3G/LTE), and that Samsung generally excels in LTE overlay.
User Rank: Blogger
3/3/2014 | 12:56:31 PM
Re: No more floorboards?
Generally speaking, they use the wired LAN for backhauling the radio network, so no. Carriers are just finding it useful to offer better 4G coverage in-building for business customers and small cells are a cheaper way to do than DAS, particularly for smaller customers.
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 12:46:14 PM
No more floorboards?
So are you saying that these Small Cell hubs would be the wireless equivalent of a traditional wired LAN?   That a business, if it can bring wireless broadband speeds inside the office, can rely on that for its Internet access?  With a lot of BYO devices as well as laptops connecting up in the business without ever having to plug in a RJ-45?

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