When Will Small Cells Be Deployed? A Case Study of Critical Strategic Planning Options for Mobile Network Operators
May 27, 2013 1 Comment
This case study was designed to help answer important questions related to small cell deployments. It is based on a traffic forecast and capacity planning tool developed to aid operator strategic planning activities. The tool can also be used by vendors and other ecosystem players to map their product offering and plan for small cell deployments.
Demand for mobile data services is expanding at a rate ranging between 30-60% per year. Subscribers have a choice between many different plans and mobile devices. Networks feature multiple technologies (e.g. 2G/GSM, 3G/HSPA, 4G/LTE) operating in different frequency bands. All this has combined to increase the complexity of technology planning. Outdoor compact base stations operating at low elevation above ground using licensed frequency spectrum form small cells that work to fill the projected gap between the supply and demand of mobile data capacity. This case study serves to illustrate some strategic options to consider when making small cell buildout decisions. It builds on numerical models to answer a fundamental question: when are outdoor small cells needed? It also illustrates the factors that impact the number of required small cells, the effects of Wi-Fi offload and other strategic technology options such as spectrum. Read more of this post