NEC, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, to focus on outdoor picocell

The outdoor picocell market, which is still in the early
stages of development, is projected to reach $8 billion in global revenues by

Currently, while many outdoor microcells are in
operation, outdoor picocells are undergoing operator trials, with several
companies, include NEC, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Bel-Air and Airspan focusing
their attention on these new lower cost and easier-to-deploy alternatives.
Other vendors working on developing solutions include NSN, Ericsson, and ZTE.

These outdoor picocells, which plug onto utility poles,
lamp posts, and rooftops, are in response to the burgeoning smartphone market.

Mobile operators have already started to compete on
mobile broadband speeds apart from coverage, and small cells will help them
differentiate their services,” says Aditya Kaul, practice director, mobile

Operators are likely to start with identifying specific ‘hot sites’ in congested metro areas, and start using outdoor picocells to alleviate
capacity demand. Outdoor small cells are just another tool operators can use in
conjunction with macro network optimization, Wi-Fi offload, caching, media
compression, and other techniques.

Metro areas aren’t the only places where small cells are
expected to appear. Apart from outdoor small cells having a role in urban
areas, they also have a role in rural and suburban areas where zoning
restrictions prevent macro tower deployments,” says Kaul.

The big challenge that carriers are focusing on is small
cell backhaul. Carriers need to ensure that backhaul doesn’t adversely affect
overall OPEX or CAPEX for outdoor small cells. There are currently multiple
solutions being considered, including fiber, copper, microwave, E-band, and
>5GHz point-to-multipoint, all of which will play a role.

By Team
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