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Justinpaul1 1/20/2014 | 4:10:58 AM
Mass market of adoption of small cells will come Patrick makes some very good points, and also highlights some of the reasons that may have made Heavy Reading's analysis more accurate.  Despite the global nature of the telecoms business, it is interesting to see how some regions adopt new technologies faster than others.  In a previous company, we tried hard to convince the femtocell market it was ready some years before it really was, but we now see a very healthy Residential and Enterprise Femtocell market.

 

Public access small cells or metrocells will have their day, this isn't conjecture, the laws of physics dictate that despite new spectrum, and improvements in technology the only way to match the exponential demand for data capacity is through spatial efficiency....adding more cells.

 

Patrick highlights the issues preventing the rapid rollout of small cells are the engineering and logistics related to design and rollout of networks, rather than the small cell devices themselves.  In my opinion, the tools and methodologies used to plan and design macrocellular rooftop and tower sites are just not flexible enough and scalable enough to meet the speed and volume expectations for small cells. He's also right about small cell backhaul.  10GB fiber is perfect for an urban rooftop site, but you can't use that same technology to connect every other lampost in the street, so small cell backhaul is going to need to rely heavily on "wireless technologies".

 

However, in some regions, especially North America, operators are rolling out public access small cells in volume  and these operators will be among the first to use network experience to increase customer satisfaction. Open to chatting more about this if you are, Patrick!
[email protected] 1/13/2014 | 6:17:53 AM
Great insights - doesn't mean lack of activity Great insights into the methodology and pressures associated with top class market research.

What this helps to highlight is that there are always plenty of opportunities for insightful, targeted R&D to help develop a market that, as Patrick points out, will eventually happen.

So while there may not be billions in revenues to be made from the sale of public domain small cells and the associated services (which will be substantial - planning, optmization, testing, deployment etc) just yet, there's plenty of work to be done on how to enable public domain small cells with new backhaul connections and power sources, how to best manage hetnets, the role of virtualization technologies etc

Maybe there are opportunities for startups? 
Carol Wilson 1/6/2014 | 4:44:11 PM
Sometimes the hype is just that Having listened to the reaction to the 2012 research Patrick is discussing here, it's gratifying to see how things played out. There was considerable skepticism at Heavy Reading's conservative take on small cell deployment but every operator who spoke on the topic kept coming back to the issues Patrick cites here. 

Backhaul is still an enormous challenge and one that creative minds are still working at addressing. 
DOShea 1/6/2014 | 4:42:52 PM
Conservatives types Yes, these Heavy Reading analysts can be conservative and buttoned-down with their estimates on occasion, but they're not afraid to drop "turd in the punch bowl" into a story when the situation calls for it.
MordyK 1/6/2014 | 2:49:51 PM
Re: backhaul It appears that they've come to the conclusion that thats an impossibility, so the strategy is to re-use whenever possible and then have a toolkit of backhaul solutions to choose from for a given deployments profile.

I think the message will come across quite strongly from some carrier strategic investments this year in backhaul as well as some public deployments and partnerships.
Sarah Thomas 1/6/2014 | 12:24:41 PM
backhaul Have operator views on small cell backhaul changed much since the survey? Seems like vendors are still having to convince them that they can't reuse existing backhaul.

 
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