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.
5GWorld is part of the larger TechXLR8 conference and exhibition, held in London’s Excel Centre this year. The show has evolved considerably since it was LTE World, expanding the scope to include AR/VR, Connected Cars, Tech startups and AI. It aims to hit all the hot buttons for the tech savvy and attract a wide audience. Exhibition attendance is free, with premium tickets for the major conference sessions.
From time to time we survey the range of vendors and products available for an area of small cell technology. With CBRS/OnGo and later MulteFire about to unleash the potential of Private LTE networks, we look at the EPC vendors who could provide the core network software to support such independent/standalone LTE deployments.
Recent market statistics show a significant upturn of in-building digital cellular solutions. The simplicity, flexibility and ease of installation are all much better than legacy choices. Costs are further reduced when the signal source is integrated within the digital solution, allowing this approach to provide the best business case and platform for future growth.
The lifecycle of this annual event has seen many changes over the past 10 years or so since inception. Femtocells have been renamed Small Cells, the scope has expanded, 5G has become a hot topic. Many small cell start-ups have come and gone, we’ve shifted focus from technology to deployment and business case, and the larger RAN vendors and tower companies are much more visible.
The dust has settled after the UK’s latest round of spectrum auctions, so perhaps it’s time to step back and ask whether the outcome is good for end customers, for existing operators, for competition and ultimately the long term economy. Was it a quick short-term fix or a long term masterplan?