& 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
The AT&T acquisition seems to suggest that Ma Bell will get deeper into fixed 5G services and more.
There's one important thing still up in the air about 5G.
Motorola CVP says the vendor could get to 5G through Moto Mods modules.
T-Mobile is expecting telecoms acquisitions this year, as the content, cable, Internet and wireless industries collapse in on each other, but the operator said that it can continue to grow alone too.
From The Founder
The time has come for a telecom app store to save the industry.
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 Documentaries
BCE 2017: Intel's Take on Network Transformation

5|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In this BCE 2017 keynote, Lynn Comp discusses Intel's vision for areas such as analytics, automation and service assurance. For more videos and BCE coverage, see http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote

5|24|17   |   17:27   |   (0) comments


Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability testing.
Think of this as the video sequel to the recent columns he's written about NFV and the prospect of a telecom app store. (See

LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
LRTV Documentaries
Agent of Change: A Q&A With AT&T's John Donovan

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson talks with the man leading AT&T's transformation efforts about the challenge of change.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE Service Provider Panel: The New Business Realities

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


For virtualization to happen, the telecom industry first has to grapple with key functional aspects of SDN and NFV that need to be universal, such as onboarding of virtualized network functions and federation of software-defined networks.
LRTV Interviews
BCE Service Provider Keynote: CenturyLink

5|16|17   |   22:32   |   (0) comments


Aamir Hussain leads the Product Development and Technology organization at CenturyLink, which includes the company's information technology function. He is an experienced senior technology executive with more than 25 years of proven success in the implementation of global technology operations, operationalization of complex technology, infrastructures and business ...
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink CTO on Transformation

5|16|17   |   7:43   |   (0) comments


The 80-year-old telco has already gone through several transformations, including every time it made an acquisition, but its purchase of Level 3 coupled with changes in technology and customer expectations necessitates its biggest transformation yet.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2017

5|15|17   |   5:05   |   (1) comment


Find out who made it into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Interviews
Site Visit: AT&T's Tel Aviv R&D Center

5|15|17   |   09:58   |   (1) comment


Nir Shalom, general manager and VP of application development at AT&T Israel, talks about the key service developments undertaken at the AT&T R&D facility in Tel Aviv and how the team there has adopted new ways of working.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Act on Your Intelligence With Amdocs aia!

5|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Amdocs CMO Gary Miles explains how communications service providers can seize the AI opportunity with Amdocs real-time digital intelligence platform.
LRTV Interviews
Logtel CEO: Making Sense of IoT

5|15|17   |   09:48   |   (0) comments


Jacques Bensimon, founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based training and consultancy Logtel, talks about the need to make IoT more than just a buzzword.
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
AT&T's Donovan: Women Adapt Faster Than Men
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 5/18/2017
Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2017
What's Blocking 4K TV Today
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 5/22/2017
Sonus & Genband Finally Combine to Form $745M Company
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2017
Fright Wigs & Cocktails: BCE 2017 in Pics
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/19/2017
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
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
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.