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Cellular 4G/LTE Channel / Industry News / Small/Pico/Femto Cells Channel

Small cells expected to carve a niche in public venues, worth $3.1 B by 2018

December 20, 2012
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Public venue small cells are an emerging class of small cell equipment, which are expected to grow at a CAGR of 67 percent to $3.1 billion in 2018. The public venue small cell category is a subset of the existing enterprise small cell segment, and will represent 50 percent of the segment by 2018.

“With the rapid growth in mobile traffic and data demand shifting to low mobility locations — the majority of them indoors — mobile operators are closing the gap between capacity and demand with solutions ranging from the traditional active and passive distributed antenna systems (DAS) to Carrier Wi-Fi, and this emerging category of public venue small cells,” according to Nick Marshall, principal analyst, mobile networks.

Deploying, installing, and operating small cells in public venues involves different considerations than street-level small cell deployments. Backhaul, power supply, and increased scale, with dozens or even hundreds of small cells in a densely packed network need to be handled. Also, unlike street-level deployments, public venue small cells face different interference challenges, dealing with higher interference between the small cells, rather than the surrounding macro.

“Public venue small cells deployed by mobile network operators offer access directly where it is needed at a lower cost than macrocells or DAS systems and will improve the QoS at a lower TCO than other methods of extending open access to public areas,” adds Marshall.

There are a range of vendors playing in this market from existing femtocell vendors like Ubiquisys, Alcatel-Lucent, or ip.access offering specialized public venue small cells, through to purpose built systems from SpiderCloud, or even “amenity based” curated Wi-Fi networks from Devicescape.

Part of ABI Research’s Small Cells and Carrier Wi-Fi and Enterprise and Consumer Femtocells Research Services, these findings are from a report, “The Rise of Public Venue Small Cells” which profiles this market, examines deployment challenges and profiles vendors’ approaches to small cell network design. 

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