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Small cells

Top 6 Small Cells Movers & Shakers

Ericsson's Head of Networks Johan Wibergh

Johan Wibergh is the man behind Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Radio Dot, which is the company's big move into the small cell space that's already gained the stamp of approval from operators such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless .

Wibergh took on the role of networks chief in 2008. He was initially reserved on the opportunity in 3G femtocells, but sang a different tune on the wider category of small cells. Last year, Ericsson predicted that each macro base station in urban areas will be supplemented by about three small cells by 2017. That amounts to around 2.25 million of them by 2017, so it's clear why it's making a big splash in the market now. (See Ericsson's Small-Cell Crystal Ball, Ericsson Names Networks Chief, and Ericsson's 3G Femto Issue.)

Ericsson, under Wibergh, introduced the Radio Dot system in September, claiming it will help operators tackle coverage in the tricky indoor market in a cost-effective manner. Radio Dot is a big departure for the company in the enterprise market. It filed 14 patents for the system, which supports multiple cellular standards to mimic a macro cell housed in a compact, sleek design. Wibergh claims it reduces cost by 70% compared to a traditional distributed antenna system (DAS). (See: Ericsson Boasts Small Cell Breakthrough and Ericsson's Radio Dot Receives Mixed Reception.)

The system is set to begin trials in the second quarter of next year, so it won't be put to the test until then, but it bears watching as Ericsson's approach to small cells -- emphasizing the RAN as a whole -- differs from most of its competitors.

The networks chief told Light Reading recently that Radio Dot will take a huge portion of the in-building market in the US, promising it would go mainstream after it begins deploying it in the second half of 2014. "We have had very strong feedback from customers and analysts that this is a great solution," Wibergh said at the time. "A lot want it now."

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