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Small cells

Ericsson Dials Up Operator Support for Radio Dot

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Ericsson is tuning and hyping up its Radio Dot small cell system as the massive mobile show kicks off here in Spain Monday.

Operator Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) says that it has signed on as a "lead customer" for the forthcoming 3G WCDMA and 4G LTE indoor distributed small cell system. Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) says that the Dot is designed for both enterprise and public access small cell applications. (See Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

Vodafone is already a customer for SpiderCloud Wireless enterprise 3G and 4G small cells in the UK and the Netherlands. (See Vodafone Launches Small Cell Service in UK.)

Massive Japanese operator SoftBank Mobile Corp. also committed to indoor testing of the small cells Sunday. Verizon Wireless said in 2013 that it will test the tiny radios, and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) threw in its support at the launch. (See Ericsson's Radio Dot Receives Mixed Reception.)

The Ericsson Dot system includes tiny radio disks that are intended to increase radio capacity and data speeds indoors. Ericsson is stressing that -- as many other established vendors have started to -- the Dot runs the same software as its macro network infrastructure. (See Ericsson Boasts Small Cell Breakthrough.)

Timing is key though, particularly as the enterprise small cell market is actually starting to gain some traction. The Ericsson Dot is not yet commercially available, but trials are expected to start in the second quarter of this year, with availability coming in the second half.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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