The Impact of Small Cells on the Cellular Industry

Current smart phone usage trends and studies show that there is potential for huge increase in global mobile user traffic in the next decade. In the next five years alone, the mobile user traffic is expected to be at 11.2 Exabyte per month. Small Cells and Small Cell Networks are expected to play a pivotal role in addressing the capacity needs for such a traffic surge in the mobile networks. The Small Cell market is expected to have a significant growth over the next few years, with estimates of 91.9 million small cells deployed by 2016 and a forecasted shipment of 70 million small cells by 2017.

Small Cells and Small Cell Networks are perceived as important factor for the success of an LTE deployment and public areas will be the key drivers for the small-cell market. Small cells typically are used to provide in-building and outdoor wireless coverage and capacity. Estimates suggest that with small cells, mobile operators can offload almost 80% of traffic during peak times. But, the important point to consider is that there will be no individual technology that will dominate the offloading.

All these forecasts figures and technological trends point towards one common trend; the future mobile networks will rely heavily on the ability of a network to provide coverage and bandwidth capacities in small and indoor locations. Given this scenario, Wireless Service providers need to take a good look different strategies and use cases for deploying Small Cells with the current vendor solutions. While planning for the various deployment strategies, they also need to consider the possibilities of extending these Small Cells to provide Gbps capacities in the near future using technologies that could potentially be powering the 5th Generation Mobile Networks.

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Analysis of telecom and ICT infrastructure, technologies, and applications.
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