1. Small Cell Forum Blog

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    1. Join Plugfest – bringing the small cell mass market closer

      Organized in partnership with ETSI for the 4th year running

      The small cell mass market is certain to happen. However, without greater interoperability – and thereby economies of scale – it will be delayed. Costs absolutely have to be minimized.

      That is the thinking behind the Small Cell Forum’s series of testing events – or Plugfests. Plugfests aim to bring closer an effective ecosystem of interoperable small cells, minimize costs and thereby speed time to market.

      The Plugfest series, organized in partnership with ETSI, has been strongly supported by operators and vendors. In fact each Plugfest has welcomed more equipment vendors, test ...

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    2. Getting ready for MWC 2014

      Mobile World Congress is less than three weeks away! Plans for the Small Cell Zone, brought to you by the Small Cell Forum, are coming together to create an impressive showcase of operators and vendors, complimented by analyst and guest contributions.

      The stand gives representation to members of the small cell community through a sponsorship package. Those members who have decided to sponsor make up the speaker agenda and have the ability to exhibit their products and services within the stand itself, which this year is in Hall 7, Stand F61.

      Visitors to the stand will have the chance to ...

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    3. A good marriage of small cells and satellite

      With just three weeks to go until Small Cell Forum hosts the Small Cell Zone at Mobile World Congress 2014, Hughes – who are one of the sponsors of the zone – share their expectations of the event.

      As one of the newest members of Small Cell Forum, Hughes is a strong believer in the use of small cells to bring access and an optimum user experience to everyone everywhere, especially those in areas with relatively low ARPU and impossible or not cost effective to be serviced by terrestrial infrastructure. We look forward to sharing information on how a good marriage / integration ...

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      Mentions: 3G small cells
    4. Release Three: your guide to new markets and new revenue streams

      The Small Cell Forum Release Programme goes from strength to strength. Release Two: Enterprise is already on its way to overtaking the popularity of Release One: Home, which itself attracted more than 30,000 downloads. And the response to the content of Release Two — from operators, vendors and many other influential parties in the small cell ecosystem — has been overwhelmingly positive.

      They have also been involved in making it happen. The significant contribution to the Release Programme from members and supporters in working groups, SIGs and surveys has enabled us to make Release Two as authoritative and wide-ranging as it ...

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      Mentions: MWC small cells
    5. Small Cell Forum Industry Awards 2014 – new categories announced

      The Small Cell Forum Industry Awards 2014 will be announced on Wednesday 11 June in London, as part of the Small Cells World Summit. This year, we have reviewed the categories in recognition of an expanded and increasingly dynamic small cell ecosystem. Judged by a panel of independent experts, the awards retain their absolute impartiality and credibility – a gold standard for the industry.

      Categories for public entry:

      1. Innovation in commercial deployment (operator)
      2. Small cell innovation leadership (open to all)
      3. Small cell access point design and technology innovation (vendor)
      4. Small cell network element design and technology innovation (open to all)
      5. Small ...
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      Mentions: small cells
    6. Release Two: Enterprise – Effective and in Demand

      Just over a week ago, we published Release Two: Enterprise and already we’ve seen a staggering amount of interest – over 7000 individual downloads and the number continues to grow by the day. Perhaps most impressive is the diversity of interest across the release, with the Enterprise overview, Enterprise small cell network architectures, Market status statistics, LTE synchronisation and Enterprise business case among the most popular.

      The volume of downloads we’ve seen surpasses all expectations. It demonstrates the currency of the Release program and the appetite for the content it delivers in the industry. It’s clear that companies ...

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      Mentions: small cells
    7. New and improved: the SCF members' website

      The new and improved Small Cell Forum members' website is now available to all full members with some important NEW documents which are only available here. The website provides access to the activities of all the separate working groups and allows you to keep on track of releases, events and news from the Forum.

      Returning visitors will  notice the improved look and feel of the general member area interface which holds information on our working groups and SIGs, contact details for the leadership and secretariat and plenary details. There is also a high-level calendar which will have key event information ...

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      Mentions: small cells
    8. Ready for the enterprise

      Release One: Home was quite an achievement. It did, however, have an advantage: it was drawing together materials and guidance developed over five years and related to an established use of small cells.

      Release Two: Enterprise is very different. While some of the deployment scenarios it discusses are up and running, the enterprise small cell market is still in its infancy.

      But the small cell enterprise market is going to be big. Even without the appearance of Release Two, the relentless advance of wireless communications devices into businesses, as well as shopping malls, stadiums, hospitals and transport hubs, would guarantee ...

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      Mentions: small cells
    9. Small cells in the enterprise: it’s payback time!

      One of the key elements of Release Two: Enterprise is the independent business case that finds a compelling commercial argument for small cells in almost every enterprise context. In fact in all cases examined bar one the payback period for both the operator and the enterprise was found to be less than a year.

      So what sort of contexts are we discussing here?

      The business case paper, compiled by Real Wireless on behalf of the Forum, shows specific outcomes from financial analysis of six case studies. They include small, medium and large enterprises, a hotel, a specialist hospital environment and ...

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      Mentions: small cells
    10. Transforming the enterprise — and the small cell business

      Small Cell Forum’s Release Two: Enterprise is now available. What does this mean for you, the operator or vendor? It’s not an understatement to say that the work the Small Cell Forum’s members have done over the past year has produced a transformative package of documents that unlocks a significant commercial opportunity for both our industry and the enterprise community.

      This isn’t just about the potential market for small cells in offices. This release could — and will — help to accelerate the deployment of enterprise small cells in government buildings, hotels, retail outlets and hospitals, as well ...

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      Mentions: small cells
    11. Dallas, and beyond

      December is fast approaching, and with it the 25th Small Cell Forum plenary.

      The Dallas plenary, on the fifth and sixth of December, is the culmination of an extraordinary year for Small Cell Forum. One of the big events — coming right at the start of the year — was the very first deliverable in the new SCF program to drive operator deployments. Small Cell Release One: Home took a vast amount of learnings about residential small cells and brought them together in a comprehensive, easy-to-access package for the guidance of operators wanting to successfully launch the technology. The response was overwhelmingly ...

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      Mentions: small cells
    12. The backhaul effect

      It was soon after its release in February this year that the importance of the Small Cell Forum whitepaper Backhaul Technologies for Small Cells became clear: It immediately attracted a lot of attention — and quickly became one of the most downloaded parts of the Release One content. Seven or eight months since its launch it is still attracting strong interest.

      So why is backhaul such an important issue for small cells? Backhaul was perceived originally to be a major unknown in the deployment of small cells. The Small Cell Forum responded to that perception, first with the creation of the ...

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    13. A year of change and growth

      My first year as Chairman of the Small Cell Forum has coincided with an astonishing growth in awareness of small cells throughout the industry. Ninety-eight per cent of all operators now claim that small cells are important to the future of their networks. That need and demand will have an effect beyond the operator community and across the ecosystem. In fact it has already done so. Across-the-board awareness of small cells has skyrocketed throughout the year.

      Which is why I’ve been so busy — not just with plenaries, meetings and internal Forum business but with keeping analysts and reporters informed ...

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    14. The Deployment SIG: it’s about people, processes and tools

      Why was the formation of the Deployment Special Interest Group regarded as an important addition to the existing structure of the Small Cell Forum? It’s a valid question, the answer to which underlines the fast evolution of the small cell technology and business case. Put very simply, the idea of having a Deployment SiG was a response to a need expressed by the operator members of the forum: they wanted us to help them to explore in greater depth the challenges they could face when they started to plan, build and operate their networks. They then wanted us to ...

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      Mentions: small cells
    15. The right notes in the right order

      This year, and for the first time, I went to the SCF plenary meeting in Paris in two capacities. Chair of the Radio and Physical Layer Working Group, as many of you already know, was one. But I am now also Chair of the relatively recently formed Release Programme Steering Group.

      Why, you may ask, is a steering group required? Certainly it was not an obvious need when the Release Programme was first put in place. The more immediate requirement was to collect together all of the material that we had produced over the years of the existence of the ...

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    16. News round-up – no time to celebrate!

      It would be an understatement to suggest that small cells have been in the news lately. That, of course, is not unusual given the strong acceptance from many in the operator community of the need to support LTE rollout with small cells from the start, not to mention the enterprise and urban deployments under way or being mooted.

      However, the continuing diversity of approach (and business models) reported during the month of August may well be a source of amazement, even among hardened watchers of the small cell scene. For example Virgin Media’s announcement that free Wi-Fi will be ...

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    17. LTE World Summit – Discussing the Future of Small Cells

      Small cells continue to be synonymous with the move to LTE and that showed at LTE World Summit 2013 in Amsterdam this June.

      With over 2600 attendees from 124 countries representing 140+ different operator companies, including 98 of the world’s 100 top operators, this was the biggest LTE World Summit yet. What’s more, representation from the small cell industry was strong with many of our member companies exhibiting, illustrating the importance of small cell technology to the growth of LTE and future mobile networks.

      I delivered the opening keynote on the HetNet Track and this gave me a ...

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    18. Small Cells and Wi-Fi: Two sides of the same coin

      Towards the end of June, the GSMA’s Mobile Asia Expo was held in Shanghai. Arguably the biggest Asian mobile telecoms conference of the year, this year’s event attracted over 20,500 visitors from 77 countries representing the entire mobile value chain: operators, device manufacturers, equipment vendors, software developers and Internet companies.

      I was invited to give the small cell perspective on a panel looking at the ‘Small Cells and the Rise of Carrier Wi-Fi’ alongside representatives from some of the leading players in carrier Wi-Fi: Selina Lo, Ruckus Wireless CEO; Dr. Bill Huang, General Manager at China Mobile ...

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    19. Small cells – the big picture

      The Small Cell Forum invited all 2013 Small Cell Forum Industry Award shortlisted companies to have a blog posted about their entry. This post is about the AirHop entry in the Enabling Technology category. Look out for more award posts in the coming days.

      Enabling technology is yet another of the terms that is going to be more and more current as small cells support — and possibly dominate — LTE rollout.

      There’s no doubt that AirHop Communications sees LTE as an opportunity for its offerings. The company, which develops advanced RAN intelligence software critical to the next wave of the ...

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    20. SPORT: changing the deployment game

      The Small Cell Forum invited all 2013 Small Cell Forum Industry Award shortlisted companies to have a blog posted about their entry. This post is about the Time Warner Cable entry in the Innovation in Commercial Deployment category. Look out for more award posts in the coming days.

      Given the demands already made on small cell deployment — demands that can only grow — the Small Cell Industry Awards category devoted to innovation in commercial deployment is hardly a matter for sport. It is, however, a matter for SPORT — or, more accurately Survey & Propagation On Remote Tablet, a novel small cell deployment ...

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    21. Small Cells World Summit - No time to relax

      The seventh of June may be a time to relax for some delegates to London's Small Cells World Summit — but the work of the Small Cell Forum will continue after the main event is over.

      So don’t book up that long weekend just yet. In any case Friday morning promises to offer a fair amount of diversion in the shape of the Small Cell Forum Release Two Enterprise Workshop. Starting at 9am and ending just before lunch it’s free and open to SCF members and conference delegates.

      More to the point, however, it focuses on a very ...

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    22. Addressing the deployment challenge

      The recently held fifteenth Transport Networks for Mobile Operators conference in London really embraced small cell backhaul. As vice chair, Backhaul SIG of the Small Cell Forum this made TNMO of particular interest to me so I was delighted to be asked to chair the afternoon session on the first day.

      The session was called Small Cells to Leverage the Benefits of New Backhaul Solutions — and that very positive message recurred often during the afternoon. It was also quite gratifying to note that many of the concerns — and indeed conclusions — of the recent SCF backhaul white paper and release programme ...

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    23. The Small Cell Industry Awards 2013: a truly astonishing response

      Since Small Cell Forum expanded its remit just over a year ago we’ve continued to attract new members from a broader diversity of sectors and activity has ramped up within and across our working groups.

      In fact, our name change was a response to a groundswell of initiatives that were taking place even before we extended our remit. Femtocells have been joined by picocells, microcells and metrocells in businesses, government buildings, high streets, villages, and even ships and planes in (to name just a few places) Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, the US, the UK at sea and ...

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    24. Join the backhaul conversation

      This week sees the publication of the SCF white paper Backhaul Technologies for Small Cells — and yes, the timing is deliberate. This year’s Mobile World Congress has already seen increasing discussion and debate around small cell backhaul and this document aims to offer as definitive an assessment as possible of the state of play in this complex and fascinating area of small cell deployment.

      Of course many of us have, for months and even years, been having conversations around the merits (or otherwise) of the technologies examined in the white paper — technologies like millimetre wave, microwave, sub-6 GHz licensed ...

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      Mentions: MWC small cells
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