Colt Technology Services in partnership with NEC, announced that it is conducting the first ever live trials of small cells using Femto-as-a-Service (FaaS) with a leading, large-scale European mobile operator, using a multi-operator small cell (Femto) gateway. The FaaS offer from Colt breaks down the investment barrier for mobile operators to start their own Small Cell service as it eliminates the need for mobile operators to have a dedicated Femto Gateway in the operator core. In addition, Colt’s Opex-based FaaS subscription model provides increased financial planning flexibility for mobile operators by eliminating the upfront capital investment requirements and freeing up their internal resources to focus on customer care, especially when competing priorities put pressure on Capex and resources.
Bringing together NEC’s gateway and Colt’s hosting and connectivity, the FaaS solution allows any European mobile operator to launch small cells in their networks more quickly, allowing them to offload data traffic and improve the overall capacity of their macro network. In addition, mobile operators can provide the associated benefits of higher voice quality, better data download rates and improved mobile phone battery performance onto their customers.
Small cells are becoming an important part of operator strategy as a customer retention and acquisition tool by providing improved 3G coverage and adding 3G capacity at the point of need, both indoors and outdoors. Using NEC’s market leading portfolio of small cells, the FaaS offer covers connectivity for all small cell segments, including residential, enterprise (small, medium and large), public access (coffee shops, shopping malls) and outdoors.
“Internationally, network sharing initiatives are becoming the norm to reduce Capex and Opex, and our FaaS approach is pioneering the virtualisation of the small cell network, enabling new offerings on a pay-per use basis with no need for network hardware,” said Valerie Layan, VP Wireless at Colt Technology Services. “Mobile operators can focus on their core business of customer acquisition and retention, customer experience and service delivery. This FaaS solution is part of Colt’s larger Small Cell Managed Services initiative, and by using our own infrastructure and data centres across Europe, we can provide a quality customer experience, with end to end SLAs, supporting the mobile industry as it migrates to heterogeneous networks and better deal with the exploding mobile data demands. Our FaaS will also enable LTE expansion, leveraging 3G/LTE dual mode small cells and facilitating LTE phones to fall back to 3G Small Cell technology to support voice.”
“NEC is the first vendor to deploy a small cell network using a remote shared Gateway infrastructure to provide connectivity between the small cells deployed in an operator network to the operator core network,” said Anil Kohli, General Manager at NEC Europe Ltd. “The FaaS offer from NEC is significant and a great leap forward in opening up the small cells market to a wider community of operators.”
Peter Jarich, vice president at Current Analysis, further comments, “FaaS opens up the market for mobile operators wanting to launch Femtocell services to their customers. With this new business model, they share in the economies of scale and benefit from the speed to market that a hosted and managed solution can offer."