Small Cells Featured Article
Ovum Defines Small Cell Market Opportunity to be Much More Complex
November 19, 2012
By Tabitha Naylor, Contributing Writer
According to Ovum (News - Alert), defining the small cell market opportunity is a lot more complex than many industry commentators think. For infrastructure vendors, with the likes of Vodafone (News - Alert) already announcing next year's small cell plans, all signs point to this market as a growing opportunity.
Ovum, however, warns that current assessments ignore key factors, such as deployments using real estate assets to which mobile operators aren't accustomed, and whether the market can support the many vendors pursuing small cell.
Based on Ovum’s two new small cell reports, it is stated that defining the market based on small cell applications rather than technology provides the best segmentation, although no single definition of the small cell market fits all vendors.
As infrastructure vendors are starting to incorporate Wi-Fi support into the overall heterogeneous network (HetNet) strategies, Ovum insists Wi-Fi should be considered a small cell.
In 2012, Ovum forecasts that this interest will see carrier Wi-Fi gear shipments grow by 84 percent, and by 2017 it will continue a double-digit growth.
"The majority of interest in the small cell market today is surrounding the capacity gains of small cells being deployed in a heterogeneous network (HetNet). Small cells promise to provide much-needed capacity injections at a lower cost," said Daryl Schoolar (News - Alert), principal analyst in Ovum's Network Infrastructure Telecoms team.
He added that as mobile traffic continues to grow, the economics of deploying more macrocells to meet this traffic growth do not add up long term. Moreover, to avoid excessive cluttering, not only will it be difficult for multiple operators to deploy 100+ small cells in a given city; governments could even legislate sharing
Ovum advocates network sharing for mobile operators, when physically deploying small cells. When it comes to small cells, this will be just one factor that can limit a vendor's opportunities. According to Ovum, yet another fact to consider will be the operators' willingness to have different macrocell and metro cell vendors in a single market.
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Edited by Braden Becker
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