Verizon picked Samsung to provide 4G LTE indoor small cells for the small-to-medium business market, for the first time picking a supplier outside of its macro network vendors for the tiny basestations.
The vendor is preparing a system Verizon will start deploying later this year for business customers who want better LTE coverage indoors. Samsung says it will supply Verizon with "femtocells" that can support up to 60 simultaneous LTE users on the unit, as well as core network elements and a management system.
A small cell is a tiny -- relatively speaking -- self-contained basestation that extends coverage at the edge of the macro network. In theory, these units can help fix voice and data coverage holes, add capacity where needed, and increase data connection speed. Enterprise small cells now appear to be starting to taking off in some carrier markets. (See Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)
Verizon Wireless has recently said that it is deploying Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s LTE small cells in indoor and outdoor environments. It has also made encouraging noises about Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Radio Dot system, which is expected to begin trials in the second quarter. (See Verizon Deploys AlcaLu's LTE Small Cells , Verizon Welcomes Ericsson's Radio Dot, and MWC 2014: Single-Mode 4G Small Cells Ahoy?)
AlcaLu and Ericsson are Verizon's existing suppliers for its macro LTE network. The SMB deal is a nice win for Samsung because Verizon has gone beyond its macro providers. Samsung appears to be growing its profile with LTE small cells in the US. It is also said to be supplying Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) with the 4G units. (See Sprint Has Samsung 4G LTE Small Cells: Analyst.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading