4G small cells to overtake 3G small cells by 2015

Telecom Lead Asia: Infonetics said small cell market will
be worth about $2.1 billion in 2016. During the period, about 3 million small
cells will be shipped. 4G small cells will overtake 3G small cells by 2015.
Vendors include Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Siemens, and ZTE – as
well as small cell specialists like ip.access, Contela, Juni, Minieum Networks,
Ubiquisys, and others.

The growth is being driven by operators seeking to
enhance saturated macrocellular networks that are currently struggling to
maintain a decent mobile broadband experience for subscribers.

For the next 3 years, most operators are planning small
cells only in the urban core.

Public space femtocells to make up more than 50 percent
of all small cells shipped in 2012.

In 2013, 3G small cells to make up 63 percent of global
small cell shipments, with 4G small cells kicking off and ramping up rapidly to
make up 37 percent.

Early femtocell adopters such as AT&T, Softbank, and
Vodafone and macro network density dictate which regions represent the largest
small cell opportunities, with Asia Pacific expected to lead with 44 percent of
all units shipped in 2012, followed by EMEA with 32 percent.

While small cells, including microcells and picocells,
have been used for the past two decades to improve voice coverage, now mobile
broadband is shifting the game to capacity upgrades,” said Stephane Teral,
principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics

The chief objective is to complement and enhance the
macrocell layer from a capacity standpoint with a new breed of low-power nodes
like public space femtocells and WiFi. But dividing the macro layers into
smaller cells remains challenging due to inter-cell interference and backhaul

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