Small cells

Nokia Jumps Into 4G Small Cell Mosh Pit

The network infrastructure planning teams at the world's mobile operators are set for information overload this week, with small cells kickstarting what is likely to be a week of multiple hardware, software and professional services announcements.

Both Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Nokia Networks have populated the small cell mosh pit today, with more expected to join the fray in the coming days. The former has unveiled details of its early 2015 multimode product launch plans -- a little later than originally envisaged. (See AlcaLu, Qualcomm Prep Multimode Small Cells.)

Loud and Bruising
The small cell mosh pit is not for the faint-hearted...
The small cell mosh pit is not for the faint-hearted...

Nokia Networks, meanwhile, is claiming to be the first vendor to "introduce small cells with LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation capabilities" with its Flexi Zone G2 Pico family of small cells, though it may find that claim questioned by a few of its rivals by the end of this week.

Its new line will ultimately support a number of deployment options, including: 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple out) with two LTE TDD carriers of 20MHz with Carrier Aggregation, or one FDD LTE 20MHz carrier; 2x2 MIMO dual band, with two FDD LTE 20MHz carriers; 2x2 MIMO Carrier Aggregation with either LTE TDD or FDD LTE.

However, the first G2 product to hit the market -- a 3.5GHz LTE TDD-Advanced small cell with 4x4 MIMO, carrier aggregation and integrated 802.11ac WiFi -- will not become commercially available until the second half of 2015.

Want to know more about the miniaturization of the radio access network? Check out our dedicated small cells content channel here on Light Reading.

The product launch comes hand-in-hand with an indoor planning service that, says the vendor, is enhanced by the use of 3D geolocation capabilities courtesy of its recent acquisition. (See Eurobites: Nokia Buys 3D Network Planning Tool.)

For more details of Nokia's offering, see its official announcement, Nokia Networks Expands Small Cell Range.

It's no surprise that the leading vendors are re-asserting themselves in the small cells sector, as network operators are desperate to improve their service performance levels inside buildings and are looking at ways to supplement their macro cell coverage outdoors too, with public access small cell deployments set to ramp in the coming years. (See Urban Jungle Is Still Too Wild for Small Cells and Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

Look out for further radio access network infrastructure announcements this week as Super Mobility Week unfolds in Las Vegas, where the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and SpiderCloud Wireless will likely be adding to the small cell noise. The Light Reading team will be reporting from that event.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

abucek 9/9/2014 | 9:39:26 AM
Re: I sense something brewing I agree, Nokia at least in North America, with the exception of TMO ( 60 / 40 split with Ericsson ) and some other smaller operators has not won a 3G or LTE Radio deal with either AT&T, Verizon or Sprint.   Part of the acquistion of Motorola was supposed to bring inroads with the major telecom providers in North America, especially with Pico cells, but this never materialized.   Nokia has to prove not only the quality of the product and the successful deliver, logistics etc if they are to win.    
Ariella 9/9/2014 | 9:29:53 AM
Re: I sense something brewing @boxco_pcs confusion on my part, Yes, you're right. Maybe I conflated the two because I had a Nokia for years before switching to a Blackberry a few years ago. I actually liked the simple Nokia phone better, as I like to use my phone for calls -- a radical idea. My daughter recently got herself a smartphone. It sometimes doesn't work for calls, but that seems to be beside the point for teenage phone users who use the devices primarily for texts. 
bosco_pcs 9/9/2014 | 9:22:38 AM
Re: I sense something brewing @Ariella, are we talking about Nokia or Blackberry? Nokia is no longer in the handset biz. With regard to Blackberry, BYOD can be a tough one but it appears CEO Chen is shifting focus to its messenging network and unloading some of the handset liability to Foxconn, so it may still be okay. Too bad Canada may not be willing to let Blackberry go, otherwise it can be a great takeover target
Ariella 9/9/2014 | 9:03:26 AM
Re: I sense something brewing @bosco_pcs, I see. From the glimpses I get, like the fact that the international bank that employs someone I know is shifting from Blackberry to BYOD, it appears the company is losing a great deal of market share.
bosco_pcs 9/8/2014 | 3:28:12 PM
Re: I sense something brewing @Ariella To be honest, I have not followed $NOK for quite a while and one cannot dismiss the possibility what a $7B financial flexibility can do to a company! However, even in $ALU's darkest hours, it did not spare any resources in its small cell development, so one'd think it has some competitive advantage. And if memory serves, it even beats out hometown favorite (hint! hint!) in some contracts; so IMHO, Nokia has its work cut out

disclaimer: also, while I used to work in software programming, my perspective is mostly equity market and not hard core engineering, so I could be very wrong in any technical assessments 

Ariella 9/8/2014 | 3:09:23 PM
Re: I sense something brewing @boxco_pcs Do you think -- as many do -- that Nokia is, for all intents and purposes, out of the running for most now?
bosco_pcs 9/8/2014 | 2:11:50 PM
Re: I sense something brewing Problem with Nokia is late to the party. $ALU has been stalking the small cell space for several years. So unless Nokia can somehow jumpstart the programme and/or low ball it, it is hard for it to beat ALU and even ERIC. It may help when it is up against the U.S. based like Cicso when it comes to China, but ALU and ERIC have also made inroads there
[email protected] 9/8/2014 | 1:15:19 PM
I sense something brewing I feel like there's something out there that is drawing out the 4G small cell with carrier aggreghation plans of the vendors ahead of GA... is there a particular massive RFP that everyone's battling for?
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