& cplSiteName &

Small Cells as a Service? Not So Fast, MSOs...

Dan Jones
3/17/2014
50%
50%

Remember the recent chatter about "small cells as a service" being a "home run" for cable MSOs? Well, it ain't necessarily so, according to AT&T.

Here's how the concept works: The MSOs already terminate fiber at lamp posts and buildings in towns and cities and so can provide backhaul to small cells, tiny basestations that extend voice and data coverage. Because cable operators typically have better building and licensing rights to install metal boxes on poles and walls than mobile providers, the logic follows that it makes sense for them to install and run the small cells and rent the connectivity back to the wireless carriers. (See Small Cells: The Battle for the Lamp Post.)

There's even research from advisory firm Real Wireless that suggests that MSOs are poised to benefit from small cell deployments in this fashion. (See MSOs Poised to Profit from Small Cell Rollouts – Research.)

So, I recently asked Gordon Mansfield, AVP of small cell solutions at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and chairman of the Small Cell Forum Ltd. , how he felt about the concept. He had a more cautious and nuanced take on the prospects for MSOs deploying small cells. (See AT&T Readies LTE-Only Small Cells, Eyes Multimode by 2015.)

"If a cable operator has a compelling backhaul offer, certainly we'll have that discussion," Mansfield says.

Particularly with public access small cells, having adequately deployed backhaul and rights to deploy the basestations on buildings and utility poles can be helpful for an operator. Beyond that, who deploys, owns, and runs the small cell gets a little more complex, according to Mansfield. (See Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

"When they go and talk about small cells as a service, I get a little skeptical about that," Mansfield says. "That's a bit of a stretch; they need to play nice with the macro network... We basically need to manage the radio aspect."

So, at best, the SCaaS idea has some clear limits in execution, at least for the US mobile operator that has been most vocal about deploying 40,000-plus small cells through 2015. (See AT&T Talks Small Cells, DAS in New Ads.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(16)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 9:07:12 AM
Re: Simply Put...
@brianm0122 most likely not.
brianm0122@gmail.com
50%
50%
brianm0122@gmail.com,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/18/2014 | 4:09:10 PM
Re: Simply Put...
I could see some of the regional carriers, using a service like this, but the big boys aren't going to give that control up.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/18/2014 | 3:44:19 PM
Re: Simply Put...
Yeah, it was always a nice concept, difficult IRL sell...
dwx
0%
100%
dwx,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 1:03:11 PM
Re: Simply Put...
I hate to be one to say I told you so, but I made a post the last time this came around saying the large US mobile carriers aren't looking to buy RF services from MSOs, and the MSOs are not particularly interested in building it.   There are really just two carriers and VZW and ATT want to manage their own spectrum, services, etc.    They are really just looking for IP or Ethernet backhaul and that's it.  

T-Mobile is about the only one I could see being interested in something like this.  
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 11:41:31 AM
Re: Simply Put...
I can see why, I would not want to give up that much control at that level. 
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/18/2014 | 10:18:02 AM
Re: Simply Put...
Yeah, MSOs can sell carriers backhaul. They already do that.

 

The small cells as a service idea was put out as a step beyond that, managing the small cell as well as selling the backhaul. Doesn't seem like AT&T -- at least -- is into the concept.
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 6:57:41 AM
Re: Simply Put...
@Dan, 

I would agree that Ericsson already has a good foothold with many of the mobile carriers, but backhaul is the MSOs bread and butter I think if they can get some carrier buy in they can control that space fairly easy. 
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 3:29:31 AM
Re: Simply Put...
Dan, My takeaway is that some cases where there's a competetive advantage to fly solo, carriers will go that route. But if its streetlights, stadiums, malls, etc. the main concern is that they can manage the RF components and management of the virtual small cell, so things like beamforming, power, SON, etc. are all managed by the servicing carrier and is not simply managed by an MSO or a similar entitiy.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/17/2014 | 10:33:34 PM
Re: Simply Put...
There might be cases where they share neutral DAS but I seriously doubt this utopian vision of sharing radio even at the small cell level for AT&T or Verizon. They have never shown ANY inclination to share spectrum with others.

 

Might make more sense for smaller US carriers to pool for sure. AT&T and Verizon have the whip hand on spectrum access though.
BRIANSMAC
50%
50%
BRIANSMAC,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/17/2014 | 8:44:37 PM
Re: Simply Put...
It appears AT&T and Verizon have a huge edge since they have both cable and cellphone service...  :o

 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Jonestown
Double the density, double the fun!
Is a 5G 'Puck' really mobile?
So can we expect the FCC to push ahead with spectrum auction timetable for 5G?
For instance, what spectrum can AT&T even use for 5G?
Fixed 5G will be good for Verizon and friends, but it surely doesn't appear to be anything like a wireless revolution. Yet!
Featured Video
From The Founder
The world of virtualization is struggling to wrench itself away from the claws of vendor lock-in, which runs counter to everything that NFV stands for.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 22, 2018, Denver, Colorado | Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Has Europe Switched to a Fiber Diet? Not Yet...
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/15/2018
Will China React to Latest US Huawei, ZTE Slapdown?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/16/2018
IBM, Microsoft Duke It Out Over Chief Diversity Hire
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/15/2018
5G: The Density Question
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/15/2018
21st Century Networking? Welcome to the Lock-In
Steve Saunders, Founder, Light Reading, 2/20/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed