Thursday 31 January 2013

Small Cells, Big Impact - From AT&T Blog

We plan to roll out more than 40,000 small cells by the end of 2015. To do this, we’ve already begun testing the technology in the field with our first trial deployments in the areas of Crystal Lake Park, Mo. and Waukesha, Wis.
In Crystal Lake Park, a suburb of St. Louis, we deployed metrocells in an outdoor residential area with poor coverage due to geographical challenges. The small cells have shown to be an effective solution, allowing for a 17 percent increase in mobile traffic on our network where the solution was deployed and boosting the outdoor area to nearly 100 percent usable coverage.
We also trialed the small cells in one of our previously problematic buildings in Waukesha, Wis., and generated equally impressive results. The trial decreased the dropped call rate in the building, allowed for a 15 percent increase in mobile traffic on our network where the solution was deployed and also resulted in nearly 100 percent usable coverage.

Additionally, at AT&T Labs we are exploring the science behind the service, with research that enables us to advance our capabilities for managing small cell coverage and how they will interwork with our existing cell sites.
With two trial deployments in the books and our work at AT&T Labs, we are expecting great things as we build toward a broader small cell rollout later in 2013. For now, one thing is clear – although the cells are small, their advantages are anything but.

Complete article here: Small Cells, Big Impact:

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Thursday 24 January 2013

LTE Metrocell Overview Presentation

The embedded presentation below was given at yesterday's Telco Evangelist event in London, attended by around 40-50 people. This was a taster session for our full day Metrocell Masterclass, being held next in London on 21 Feb, but with more emphasis on LTE metrocells.

The audience was quite interested - for some, the idea of millions of small cells (including LTE metrocells) will be needed was new to them, and the consequences became more apparent. Good round of questions from the audience, with a lot of interest in the new commercial models of who (and how) may deploy metrocells - will site sharing, national roaming etc. be required in the future.

For more details of the Masterclass and wider range of information about small cells, see the website

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Ubiquisys to focus on 'indoor metro' and enterprise at #MWC13

Our intelligent small cell technology has delivered 99.999% availability in some of the world’s most demanding indoor metro deployments. And we’ve doubled the number of tier 1 systems integrator partnerships from 2 to 4, meaning that Ubiquisys intelligent small cell tech is now embedded in the major slice of commercially available solutions.
LTE multi-mode small cells – focus on indoor metro and enterprise
Working with silicon platforms from long-term partners Texas Instruments and Broadcom, Ubiquisys will be demonstrating a range of novel LTE/3G/WiFi products that can handle the immediate need to ramp capacity and provide an adaptive evolution to LTE provision. Ubiquisys has deployed outdoor small cells but our focus is on intelligent cells for indoor public spaces, where the majority of mobile data is consumed. The combination of abundant sites, simple installation and automatic operation means that indoor cells can be economically deployed in much larger numbers for a sustainable ramp in integrated 3G/4G/WiFi capacity (see our infographic on indoor/outdoor small cells).

High availability indoor metrocells
Our latest products feature ActiveCell® high-availability software designed, developed and deployed in 10s of thousands of Small Cells serving high capacity demand public environments. ActiveCell® high-availability software has now been proven in thousands of indoor metro sites in South Korea and Japan, delivering 99.999% availability and parity with macro network features and KPIs. This is in addition to the proven ActiveRadio® the most widely deployed intelligent self-organising cellular small cell, and ActiveSON® self-organising grids of multiple networked small cells that are continuing to be commercially deployed in Enterprises in significant numbers on a daily basis.

Complete article at: The Ubiquisys Blog | Ubiquisys Small Cells & Femtocells:

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Tuesday 22 January 2013

AT&T Shifting to Small Metrocell, Wi-Fi Technology in Project Velocity IP Initiative

AT&T’s wireless network expansion plans include more than 10,000 new HSPA+/LTE cell sites, 40,000 small “metrocells,” and 1,000 distributed antenna systems (DAS) that will improve network performance, broaden Wi-Fi service, and reduce traffic on its traditional cell tower network.
With much of urban and suburban America (and the roads that connect communities) already covered by cellular networks, AT&T has embarked on an effort to more efficiently manage its wireless traffic.

AT&T, the lowest-rated wireless carrier by Consumer Reports, has suffered from a reputation for dropped calls and inadequate network infrastructure investment. The company has sought to correct those mistakes with the implementation of its multi-billion dollar Project Velocity IP (VIP) program that will expand capacity and bring Wi-Fi to new places.
John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T’s Technology and Network Operations division told attendees at the Citi Global Internet, Media & Communications conference in Las Vegas the company was shifting investment towards deploying small cell technology like “metrocells” that provides service to 32 or 64 concurrent users in a small geographic area. These fiber-fed, low-power small cells traditionally cover areas less than 1.2 miles wide, and can be hidden on utility poles or on buildings.
AT&T intends to leverage its U-verse fiber to the neighborhood network to provide much of the expanded network’s backhaul connectivity, at least in cities where AT&T provides landline service.

More information at:
AT&T Shifting to Small Metrocell, Wi-Fi Technology in Project Velocity IP Initiative | Stop the Cap!:

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Monday 21 January 2013

Sprint’s Metrocell Move Should Bring 5 Million Shipment Bonanza By End 2013

OYSTER BAY, N.Y.--()--In what is a major endorsement for public access small cells, Sprint Nextel has announced that it will deploy Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio Cube Metro Cell to densify its Network Vision LTE network. Sprint plans to use lightRadio metrocells starting in high traffic indoor areas such as entertainment venues, transportation hubs, and business campuses.
“This is a significant win for Alcatel-Lucent and its lightRadio technology, but more importantly dispels the notion of small cells being hyped, and that heterogeneous networks represent a major shift in mobile radio network architecture”
“We believe that this type of indoor public-access small cell will become a popular method for operators wishing to preserve spectrum and augment the data capacity of their networks while improving QoS in high traffic areas,” says Nick Marshall, principal analyst at ABI Research. Marshall adds, "We estimate total indoor and outdoor small cell shipment numbers reaching 4.55 million by end 2013, and this announcement validates that view with a high likelihood of shipments reaching closer to 5 million."

“This is a significant win for Alcatel-Lucent and its lightRadio technology, but more importantly dispels the notion of small cells being hyped, and that heterogeneous networks represent a major shift in mobile radio network architecture”, says Aditya Kaul, practice director of mobile networks. Kaul adds, “While we have seen Korean and Japanese operators forge ahead with small cells both indoors and outdoors especially in public spaces, Sprint’s announcement could spark off other operators in North America and possibly Europe to accelerate plans for metro cell deployments.”
While we await more details from Sprint on which markets will receive the lightRadio equipment, Alcatel-Lucent has contracted with Sprint for its LTE macro deployment and upgrade along the East Coast and Southwest. Ericsson and Samsung are the other two vendors on the LTE Sprint Network Vision project, and are known to be supplying macro base station equipment.

More details at:
Sprint’s Metrocell Move Should Bring 5 Million Shipment Bonanza By End 2013, Says ABI Research | Business Wire:

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Friday 18 January 2013

US Market for LTE Metrocells to Grow at a 240% CAGR Over Next 5 Years

Under iGR's classification, there are three types of metrocells: those that operate on 3G only, 4G only and those that can operate on both. iGR believes that ultimately the bigger potential market will be for 4G metrocells, albeit by a small margin. 
iGR expects that the total addressable market (TAM) for 4G LTE metrocells in the U.S. will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 240 percent between 2012 and 2016. 
The TAM for 3G metrocells will initially grow strongly (CAGR over 99 percent between 2012 and 2014) before the opportunity declines in favor of 4G LTE deployments. 
Overall, the combined TAM for both 3G and 4G metrocells grows at a strong CAGR of 50 percent between 2012 and 2016. 
"By 2016, iGR expects the average consumer's consumption of mobile data in the U.S. to increase by ten times over the level in 2011," said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR. "The mobile networks must adapt to this vastly increased demand and we see the metrocell, both 3G and 4G versions, as an important part of the solution. Our new study demonstrates the potential for metrocells in the U.S. and shows that the demand in the next five years will far outstrip the number of macro cell sites currently installed."

Complete article here: US Market for LTE Metrocells to Grow at a 240% CAGR Over Next 5 Years:

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Wednesday 16 January 2013

Small Cells deployment report

Today, I went through the Informa's report on small cells. Some interesting points from the report as follows:

Microcells and picocells are already widely deployed in market but on a lower scale compared with femtocells. Metrocells are expected to enter the market during 2012 through operator trials or pilots and expand significantly during 2014 and 2015 primarily for 3G networks in developed markets and LTE in the US market.


Although volumes are driven by consumer femtocells, vendor revenues are expected to be bigger with operator-deployed and managed small cells; profit margins are expected to increase in proportion to cell size. Metrocells and microcells are expected to be the most profitable small-cell market segment, although contracts may vary.



Picocells are small cells that are already established in the market and widely deployed. Picocells usually refer to cells that are deployed in indoor public areas for coverage improvement, including shopping malls, train stations and airports, as well as also enterprise locations. Picocells are widely deployed, although not on the scale of consumer femtocells, due to their larger coverage area and smaller target market. Picocells typically transmit less than 4W, may cater for more than 32 users and are also single-sector. 

Picocells have also traditionally been a less-intelligent version of femtocells and have acted as typical base stations, although vendors are now including femtocell-developed technologies in these larger units in order to adopt several benefits, including auto-configuration, radio environment awareness and remote support.


Microcells can be regarded as small macrocells and are usually deployed in urban areas that are capacity-constrained. There are also many cases where microcells are deployed in rural areas, where the coverage area of a macrocell may not make sense due to concentrated population in a limited area. 

Microcells are also widely deployed and have been in the market for several years. Typical transmit power can be as high as 40W – but not more – and these units are typically three-sector, unless deployed in light poles or building walls when they are typically single-sector. 

Microcells are typically used when an operator is forced into cell splitting – splitting a large macrocell into many smaller microcells in order to increase the overall system capacity. In other words, microcells are typically the only cell present in an urban location and this is an important distinction between microcells and metrocells. 


Informa Telecoms & Media considers metrocells as a special type of a single-sector microcell which is deployed primarily in capacity-constrained areas. Metrocells are also deployed as an overlay rather than acting as the primary cellular network, meaning that advanced features are necessary, including self-optimizing (SON) features and auto-configuration.


* Microcells will continue to be deployed throughout the forecast period, growing from 602,000 units deployed at end-2011 to 2.8 million at end-2016. This growth is primarily driven by additional 3G cells in urban locations and rural coverage expansion in developing areas. 

* Metrocells are expected to enter the market during 2012 with 31,240 cells deployed by the end of the year, increasing to 681,000 by end-2016. 

* Finally, Informa estimates that 194,000 picocells were deployed in the market by end-2011, a number which will increase to 1.1 million by end-2016.

A discussion on this topic with regards to the numbers is available on 3G4G blog here.

The complete paper is embedded as follows:

Tuesday 15 January 2013

What is a Metrocell? - by Think Small Cell

Metrocells are compact and discrete mobile phone basestations, unobstrusively located in urban areas. They can be mounted on lampposts, positioned on the sides of buildings or found indoors in stadiums, transport hubs and other public areas. They provide excellent mobile phone service, delivering very high data speeds and capacity, solving the problem of growing data traffic demand cost effectively.

These small cells are usually owned and installed by the mobile network operator themselves, who plan, manage and maintain them in the same way as their larger macrocell cousins. However, the large numbers of metrocells change the way in which the industry operates.

Complete article follow link:
What is a metrocell? | Metrocells | Small Cells:

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Monday 14 January 2013

10 Metrocell (3G and LTE) trials in the CALA region

Alcatel-Lucent has long claimed that femtocells and metrocells can boost wireless networks, but this time, it seems that carriers are also betting on the technology. According to Osvaldo di Campli, Alcatel-Lucent’s president of the Caribbean and Latin American (CALA) region, three femtocell contracts have been signed in Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela. Di Campli said that there are ten metrocell trials across CALA, using both metrocell equipment for 3G and LTE, in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay.

However, in Brazil both femtocell and metrocell adoption face challenges. Although the government is studying regulation changes, currently carriers have to pay equal taxes when deploying macrocells, metrocells or femtocells, which can hinder investment.

Complete article here.

Friday 11 January 2013

Panel Discussion: When to deploy metro cells? - Via Mobile Europe Magazine

Debate between representatives from Everything Everywhere, Telefonica UK, Telecom Italia, Disruptive Analysis and Alcatel-Lucent on metro cells and when to deploy them. 

Part 1 sees the panel define the metro cell terminology, look at where metro cell solutions are needed and define the product requirements. The speakers also discuss how to deploy metro cells, taking into account issues such as account site acquisition and logistical hurdles.

In Part 2, the panel disagree on the role of WiFi, and discuss the options for backhaul. Finally, each speaker answers the question, "When to deploy metro cells?"

For more info see:
Mobile Europe - When to deploy metro cells? Part 1
When to deploy metro cells? Part 2

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Thursday 10 January 2013

Metro cells versus Micro cells: Which is Winning? - VDC Research: Embedded Microprocessor, Board & Systems Market Blog

VDC observed that metro cells are currently beating out microcells.
The question of why metro cells are exceeding other small cells in growth, at least in the case of certain companies is very interesting. One potentially key piece in the answer to that question is that in most cases, the Managed Service Providers (MSPs) own and control the metro cells, while other small cells are in enterprise or individual homes. This provides more incentive for the MSP to use metro cells, since they have ownership and management over the devices. Another cell type with fast growth is femto cells. Unlike metro cells, femto cells have limitations in terms of number of channels, restricted access, and can only be deployed indoors. Metro cells can support a greater number of users and can be deployed in both indoor and outdoor environments. VDC believes that the advantages and flexibility of metro cells are contributing to their growth. 

Complete story below:
Metro cells versus Micro cells: Which is Winning? - VDC Research: Embedded Microprocessor, Board & Systems Market Blog: "micro"

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Wednesday 9 January 2013

Shopping Seduction and Metro Cells: The New Retail Proposition | Wilson Street - Femtocell and Small Cell Technology

The demand is clearly there and the mobile penetration and device usage statistics are beyond doubt. So the question can be asked, what if consumers could be offered the convenience of the home shopping experience while in the mall? A tailored event which lets them shop on their own terms while also being able to physically examine, try out or try on the product? There is an opportunity here for mobile network operators (MNO) as well as for retailers and venues themselves. Metro cells can give operators the necessary capacity and coverage offering to serve a busy urban environment and give end-users a high Quality of Experience (QoE) which will keep them coming back to the mall.

Complete article here: Shopping Seduction and Metro Cells: The New Retail Proposition | Wilson Street - Femtocell and Small Cell Technology:

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