Alcatel-Lucent, Qualcomm to invest jointly in small cell base stations

Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm Technologies have tied up to develop small cell base stations.

They will invest in a R&D program to develop the next generation of Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio Small Cell products featuring Qualcomm Technologies’ FSM9900 small cell chipsets.

Investment details are not available.

The next generation small cells will target residential and enterprise markets. These markets will benefit from improved wireless connectivity from 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks.

“This initiative illustrates The Shift Plan we announced last month, which will see Alcatel-Lucent focus on growth technologies, including those facilitating ultra-broadband access. We also said we would actively seek collaboration with key industry players,” said Michel Combes, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent.

ABI Research says AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica, Softbank, and Sprint are driving shipments of small cells in both enterprise and residential settings.

The deal is centered around Alcatel-Lucent’s expertise in developing small cells and Qualcomm Technologies’ mobile and networking technologies. They intend to accelerate the adoption of small cells and alleviate the impact of mobile data on wireless networks.

Alcatel-Lucent, Qualcomm to invest jointly in small cell base station

The new small cells are expected to enhance wireless network reception in environments such as urban areas, shopping malls and other enterprise venues.

In the wake of rapidly growing usage of video and gaming applications by smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, telecom operators (telecoms) are looking to small cells to cost-effectively meet demand for mobile data capacity and network coverage.

“Small cells greatly increase capacity by bringing the network closer to the user, thus enabling operators to serve the anticipated 1000x growth in mobile data traffic and dramatically improving the experience for wireless subscribers,” said Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm.

ABI Research said overall enterprise and consumer Femtocell shipments will reach 5.7 million units in 2014 compared to 3.8 million units in 2013. While 3G indoor small cells will continue to represent the vast majority of shipments it is LTE indoor small cells which are expected to ramp up significantly starting in 2013.

Recently, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments announced their commitments toward the latest generation baseband SoC’s for small cells.

The other development in the small cell market was Cisco’s recent acquisition of Ubiquisys.

Outdoor small cells will grow at 125 percent in 2014 to $3.6 billion with LTE outdoor small cells exhibiting growth as demonstrated by the recent announcements from AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and China Mobile which are all among the MNOs driving this market.

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