Future Scenarios of Small Cells Technology Market Opportunities

Next Generation Communications Blog

Future Scenarios of Small Cells Technology Market Opportunities

By Erin Harrison

Last week we focused on the consumer market opportunities being realized by small cells technology.  For operators, capital expenses (CAPEX) and operation expenses (OPEX) savings can be achieved by using small cells networks to deliver mobile broadband services, rather than the current macro network, according to the experts at Alcatel-Lucent.

In addition, new incremental service revenue can be generated from pre-qualified 3G and broadband subscribers. In some countries, the savings are substantial and actually outstrip potential revenue.

By increasing service quality and connection speeds indoors, small cells can improve voice calls and provide faster, more reliable data connections and coverage. Small cells are low-powered radio access points that improve indoor and outdoor coverage to increase capacity and offload traffic – as much as 80 percent during peak times.

In the whitepaper, “Small Cells Technology Fuels New Consumer Market Opportunities,” Alcatel-Lucent developed forecasts for five national markets, and analyzed results from the survey and market penetration simulations. The results found that Asia will lead, while the United States and Europe will follow in capturing the new market opportunities found in small cells technology.

Specifically, Taiwan is expected to grow its share of addressable market more rapidly than any other surveyed country, closely followed by Singapore. The U.S. is more likely “to cut a middle path between Asia and Europe,” the whitepaper said.

Alcatel-Lucent’s forecast shows nearly 34 million subscribers to small cells services across the five survey countries within the next four years. By mid-2014, Alcatel-Lucent predicts the U.S. will be the “run-away leader” in terms of pure subscriber numbers, reaching 22.5 million subscribers.

Once small cells are deployed in households, the operating cost of transporting mobile broadband data to and from the household is forecast to dramatically decrease, according to the whitepaper, translating into cost savings for the operator, compared to transporting growing mobile broadband data volumes over the existing macro network.

Alcatel-Lucent, one of the leading femtocell companies, offers the 9360 portfolio of small cells. Alcatel-Lucent officials claim that the company’s small cells commercially deployed, fully 3GPP-compliant solutions, are transforming today’s networks by increasing capacity, lowering cost and ensuring coverage. They include Bell Labs innovations that position operators to rapidly penetrate markets and gain cost and revenue benefits.

In addition, application enablement features help operators create new in-household mobile services, while automated deployment and configuration features deliver optimal network functionality without the need for manual user intervention.

In short, Alcatel-Lucent says the universal appeal of small cells-based unlimited calling plans presents a competitive advantage for mobile operators facing the competitive threat of mobile-based VoIP services, and it also has the potential to reduce churn.

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