This recent Cambridge Wireless Small Cell SIG event was held in London, and featured an impressive speaker line-up discussing the opportunities around shared spectrum solutions, similar to CBRS, for the UK in the 5G timeframe. Spectrum access is one of several key enablers that would allow the industry to serve in-building and rural users and industry verticals that are today underserved. The UK government favours a market expansion business model for which that is an important part. We heard from government, industry and an analyst on what to look out for in the years ahead.
u-blox have just introduced a new GNSS based timing product that achieves the nano-second phase synchronisation required to maximise 5G performance. Concurrently tracking multiple GNSS constellations in multiple frequency bands, it has demonstrated a tolerance of +/- 10ns with a standard deviation of 3ns over 24 hours. This is the kind of step change in innovation and technology that will be required to achieve the full potential of 5G.
The third Telecom Infrastructure Summit was held in London this year, away from its roots in California. This Facebook sponsored initiative has garnered substantial momentum since its launch two years ago, with over 500 member companies. I'd estimate over 1,500 attended this two day bonanza, up from 1,000 last year. TIP offers a route to market for budding start-ups and innovators of cellular radio access equipment, many of which you'd consider as small cell product and component vendors.
We spoke with Chris Stark, Chairman of the CBRS Alliance, for an update on the progress that CBRS (and its brand name OnGo) have been making. He is optimistic that initial commercial deployment will be live before year end. Recent FCC filings by the SAS providers apply throughout more than 47 states, covering both indoor and outdoor solutions.
We’ve tracked the evolution of satellite backhaul for remote/rural small cells over the past decade. It’s often been considered just too expensive. We spoke with Vinay Patel, senior director, International at Hughes Network Systems. They continue to invest in new satellite capacity and are already enabling commercially viable remote small cell deployments around the world.
One of the critical factors limiting more widespread small cell rollout by third parties has been the lack of access to spectrum. The US government is addressing this through CBRS. The UK Government last week published a forward looking paper on the Future of Telecom Infrastructure covering both fixed and mobile services through the next 15 years. In amongst the usual hype and ambitious targets, there were some interesting snippets that open the possibility for small cells in new frequency bands, including by neutral hosts, private networks and others.
This month sees another big shake-up for the small cell industry, with Reliance Industries, the largest private company in India and owner of Reliance Jio acquiring Radisys, a software business supplying telecom software stacks to a wide variety of equipment vendors worldwide. We examine both companies and consider the likely outcome for the future.
Perhaps its not entirely co-incidence that the Chalke Valley in southern England is not only a very beautiful area but also one of the largest populated mobile not-spots in the country. Since none of the four mobile networks provide service, the locals have setup a Community Interest Company to build and operate their own small cell network to bring both universal mobile service and fixed wireless broadband for all.
Original timescales for CBRS suggested that we might see live commercial operation by about now. I spoke with Mark Gibson, a newly elected CBRS Alliance Board member, and others to learn more about the current status and when might we expect to see the first commercial deployments.