Small cells are going to bring next round of revolution to India, the fastest growing telecom network in the world and wireless services are the dominant reason for this growth. With 990 million subscribers India is the second-largest wireless market by subscribers after China. Total active mobile connections in India are expected to increase to around 1.2 billion and about 85 percent penetration in 2020.
Consumer’s mobile habits are also changing in India with approximately 80 percent of all mobile voice and data traffic occurring indoors, this imbalance of indoor to outdoor traffic will increase with increase of data penetration. Operators will keep focusing on user experience enhancement.
The small cells solutions help operator to save and utilize its biggest asset ‘Spectrum’. These solutions not only improve building coverage and capacity but there is also a direct positive impact on the capacity of the outdoor macro network. Due to the low power requirement these solutions are environment friendly and have least radiation.
Consumers are increasingly moving towards the mobile broadband and are using Apps for the OTT services such as social media and messaging. Video streaming too is increasing at an exponential rate and by 2020 average download per user is expected to reach 750 MB while video itself would be crossing more than 60 percent of the total download.
Apart from this with Internet of Things (IoT) and associated Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications come of age, there will be even further burden put upon mobile networks. With such high requirement in the near future small cells solution will play a vital role not only for the coverage and capacity but for improving user experience as well.
Small cell solutions provide a supporting hand to operators by helping them to addresses both the short term challenges such as savings in network and the long term challenges such as improving customer loyalty and quality of service. Small cells solution will be a big boost for the rural area penetration as cost of radio equipment for small cells could be just one-Tenth of the corresponding costs of Macro cell, hence keeping the Capex and Opex to minimum.
The evolution of small cells has already started as in LTE the principal of heterogeneous network (HetNet) is introduced where the mobile network is constructed with layers of small and large cells. At present, only big operators are either planning or already deploying the small cells network. It will be interesting to see how these service providers plan and execute their strategies for the small cells.
Chandan Kumar, director – Marketing and Integrated Solutions at Huawei India