Sponsored By

Sprint's Small Cell Suppliers Could Include Some SurprisesSprint's Small Cell Suppliers Could Include Some Surprises

Sprint has RFPs out for 4G small cells and updated backhaul for its network upgrade efforts.

Dan Jones

December 8, 2015

2 Min Read
Sprint's Small Cell Suppliers Could Include Some Surprises

You could see some new and surprising names in the frame at Sprint as the operator sorts out small cell suppliers -- and more -- to add extra depth and capacity to its 4G network over the next few years.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CEO Marcelo Claure said in the summer that the operator plans to deploy tens of thousands of small cells over the next three years. On the company's fiscal second-quarter call in November, the CEO also said that the operator is using "alternative vendors" as part of its network densification program.

The operator now has requests for proposals (RFPs) out regarding small cells and updated backhaul to support network densification. Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Networks are apparently among the usual suspects looking for a piece of the action.

Also under consideration, however, are Airspan Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRN), which is developing pico basestations, and Airvana Inc. , which provides a distributed small cell system, among other vendors. (See Airvana Is Back With a 'Cloud RAN' 4G Biz Cell and Sprint Tests Small Cells at the Speedway.)

Read about the latest on mobile in our dedicated section on Light Reading.

Sprint's consideration of Airvana basestations may help to explain why CommScope Inc. took a $50 million gamble in September buying the startup. (See CommScope Adds Small Cells to DAS With Airvana Buy.)

Evidently, not even those familiar with the Sprint RFP process are quite sure when the operator will make its final decision, although Sprint will first nail down its eventual radio access network (RAN) suppliers before finalizing the backhaul piece.

"Hopefully, we're weeks or months away from a decision," Dave Jones, Zayo Group Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO)'s executive vice president of dark fiber solutions, told Light Reading on the sidelines of the Macquarie Mobile Day Conference in New York on Monday. Jones, however, couldn't be specific on an exact timeline.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like