Small Cell Deployments Can Gain from Thoughtful Collaboration

Next Generation Communications Blog

Small Cell Deployments Can Gain from Thoughtful Collaboration

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Mobile operators know that small cells deliver efficient, cost-effective wireless coverage since they can be placed anywhere to add or augment service. But while the technological benefits are not in dispute, actual small cell deployment can be a challenge. The very advantage of small cells is also a disadvantage.

That’s because unlike macro cells, small cells require many deployments and agreements with many sites. Instead of one deployment, there are several. This adds complexity, especially with small cells outdoors.

The numbers bear this out. A recent study by Informa Telecoms & Media found that roughly 60 percent of the operators it surveyed said that deployment problems were the biggest challenge with small cell technology.

One way to reduce the challenge of small cell deployment is through a collaborative approach, according to a recent TechZine article by Jean Jones, Director of Marketing, Wireless, Alcatel-Lucent, 3 tips for faster small cell deployment.

“As small cell deployments grow in the next few years,” noted Jones, a “collaborative approach offers a highly effective way to acquire the sites you’ll need. So you can achieve faster, cost-effective deployment on a large scale.”

By collaborating with site acquisition specialists, construction companies, cable operators, systems integrators and other key businesses work as partners, wireless operators can get faster, simpler access to all the resources, skills and expertise they need.

Part of this is looking for site acquisition specialists who are pooling their resources with backhaul facility providers, which can give providers quick access to backhaul and skilled technicians.

Alcatel-Lucent, through its Metro Cell Express Site Certification Program, found that operators who leveraged such specialists were able to speed up their small cell deployments by as much as 40 percent. By using such specialists, operators also can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 20 percent, according to Alcatel-Lucent.

A third way to reduce the challenge of small cell deployment is through the use of pre-approved small cell deployment sites.

“With immediate access to these kinds of qualified sites and assets, it’s quicker and easier to find locations that put capacity close to your subscribers,” noted Jones. “You also save time negotiating with site owners. And you eliminate the effort involved in getting the required permissions.”

Mobile operators know the benefits of small cells. But they also know the pain of small cell deployments. With good collaboration and smart use of existing relationships, however, this pain can be greatly reduced.

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