& 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
Fixed 5G will be good for Verizon and friends, but it surely doesn't appear to be anything like a wireless revolution. Yet!
5G innovations such as network slicing could be a good way for operators to test drive services in a world where net neutrality has been neutralized.
Bidding on Qualcomm could give Intel a 5G fillip and possibly more importantly an instant 4G boost.
Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon eye NB-IoT in 2018, while AT&T is full-bore on Cat M for now.
Forget 5G! For early adopters, Gigabit LTE will be coming of age in the US at Mobile World Congress in San Francisco this month.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
February 26-28, 2018, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Here's Pai in Your Eye
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 12/11/2017
Verizon's New Fios TV Is No More
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/12/2017
Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/11/2017
Juniper Turns Contrail Into a Platform for Multicloud
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 12/12/2017
Cloudy With a Chance of Automation: Telecom in 2018
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/12/2017
Animals with Phones
Don't Fall Asleep on the Job! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed