Light Reading

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   >   >>
More Blogs from Jonestown
Consumers have no way of knowing if the aftermarket Sprint phone they're buying will work on the operator's network -- and that's burning Sprint's MVNOs.
Verizon's AOL buy is its latest push in an ongoing strategy to deliver more mobile video to its customers.
Cisco CEO predicts the digitization of everything will change, like, everything!
The connected car is driving the IoT market now, but that's just the start of it.
It's the Claure and Legere show! Sprint and T-Mobile CEOs trade barbs -- or at least retweets -- over rival Super Bowl ads.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Potholes Lurk in Indian Smart City Project
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 5/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
Cats with Phones