Telecoms share concerns on small cell investment

Small cell event in Mumbai
Discussions at the Small Cells Networks Summit 2016 in Mumbai focused on improving both indoor and outdoor coverage in order to enhance customer experience.

Small cells come with multi-technology aiding to meet the demand of increasing mobile data consumption and resultant traffic, while being equipped with additional benefits for both carriers and end users.

With imminent 4G networks, the principle of heterogeneous network (HetNet) can be introduced where the mobile network is constructed with layers of small and large cells to enhance coverage and capacity including that of the of the outdoor macro network. The technology has low power requirement, and is environment friendly and has the least amount of radiations.

“Consumption of internet with the proliferation of smartphone devices in India is similar to global market and network is getting evolved by adding complexities to it and making available newer spectrum,” said Sachin Deshpande, head of Smart Cells at Bharti Airtel.

Sachin Deshpande said Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA) and evolution of LTE would provide operators the option to make use of unlicensed spectrum with a unified network, with potential operational cost saving and improved spectral efficiency.

Technology vendors Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, iBwave and Spirent sponsored the telecom event on small cell. The event was supported by 3GPP and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

Anil Tulsi, head – Strategy Panning, Reliance Communications said that the point of concern should be the location where small cell has to be deployed so as to achieve the desired goal and to make it cost effective.

Jing Wang, Small Cells Marketing Director, ZTE India, said that the deployment of small cells is necessary for high speed experience at the user end and extension of coverage as 70 percent of network consumption happens in indoor area.

The small cell family such as Q cell, Nanocell has wide range of application to absorb indoor as well as outdoor traffic in different scenarios. Offering of PtP and PtMP radios withsmall cell deployment for urban application overcome the major challenges associated with street-level backhaul.

Amit Marwah, head E2E Sales Solutions, Nokia India said that there are several challenges for setting up of small cells in terms of related site, health, civic body approved guidelines, public acceptance and so on. However, managing network complexity would essentially provide solutions such as self-optimizing, self-healing and a lot more.

“The demand for internet data is increasing day by day, and soon India would be among top countries in terms of rate of increasing demands. On the other hand, we have peculiar problems in our nation including wrong perceptions that towers and BTS have health hazards associated with them as well as the major problem of call drops,” said Sudhir Gupta, secretary, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Rajan S Mathews, director general of COAI, said QoS standards, call drops, affordability in terms of customer experience, high speed internet, technology development and proper investments in networks are the key areas where significant amount of work should be done in order to provide customer satisfaction.

Reports suggest that 44 percent of the mobile traffic is expected to be borne together by Wi-Fi and small cells by 2020, with small cells contributing seven percent of off-loaded data traffic. It can be a relief to pressurized cellular networks, cutting down on operating costs and improving user satisfaction.

Huawei and Vodafone, two months ago, did a joint demonstration at Small Cells World Summit World to show 1Gbps downlink throughputs over Vodafone’s live, commercial networks via its distributed small cell solution, the Lampsite 2.0.

Vina Krishnan
[email protected]

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