Network Future Relies on Small Cells

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A new survey indicates that 98 percent of mobile operators believe the future of their networks rely on small cells.

These results come from the latest quarterly small-cell market status report issued by Informa Telecoms & Media. The report also highlights new technological processes as operators announce major public-access deployments and the first dual-mode LTE/3G devices.

Operators continue to progress toward integrating small cells and public Wi-Fi, the research firm said. Currently, 46 small-cell deployments by operators exist, including nine out of the top 10 operators by revenue globally.

AT&T recently announced it will start rolling out 40K public-access small cells in 1Q13, and Verizon and Sprint will likely follow.

The survey conducted for the report found that 55 percent of the mobile-operator respondents are most interested in public-access deployments over the next 12 months, followed by enterprise rollouts, with 35 percent of responses.

Nearly half of operators said their greatest concern surrounding outdoor metro deployments are the planning issues, followed by backhaul challenges, which were cited by 35 percent.

Almost all of the survey respondents believe that LTE will function as the biggest technology driver for small-cell deployments over the next five years, although interest in LTE-A continues to grow.

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