Amdocs released new research that explores the challenges involved in deploying and managing small cell networks at Cable Congress 2014. It identifies an opportunity for cable and satellite providers (also known as multiple system operators, or MSOs) to create new revenue streams through partnering with mobile network operators (MNOs) in the rollout of small cells and Wi-Fi networks.
The survey was conducted in January 2014 by Real Wireless – the leading independent advisory firm on wireless strategy and small cells – and includes 40 national and large regional MNOs, MSOs and converged wireless/wireline operators from North America, Europe and APAC. The report is available for download here.
Key findings include:
- Small cell rollouts are being delayed: while 70% of MNOs surveyed plan to have significant small cell deployments by 2018, the majority predict slow rollout
- MSOs have the necessary skills and experience for small cell deployment: challenges identified by MNOs in small cell rollouts include project management (65%), negotiation with partners (45%) and technical aspects (40%) – challenges that MSOs are well placed to overcome through their expertise in the installation and maintenance of dense networks in the field
- MNOs willing to partner: to succeed, 70% of MNOs are prepared to use small cell networks rolled out by or owned by a third-party, such as an MSO
- MSOs need to recognise and capitalise on their small cell expertise: 85% of MSOs believe that technical aspects of small cell rollout are different from their normal deployments and as a result only 40% of MSOs have plans to support small cell deployments this year. This is surprising given that 70% have either already launched or plan to launch public Wi-Fi, which has very similar requirements to small cells in terms of backhaul, power and installation
- Automation tools will be critical: 85% of respondents believe that automation is critical or important for small cell deployment; however, 80% believe their existing processes and tools are inadequate.
“With mobile data traffic predicted to increase 11-fold from 2013-2018 small cells represent a critical element of an MNO’s strategy to expand mobile network capacity and improve the overall user experience, yet rollout challenges are causing small cell deployment delay,” said Charles Chambers, managing consultant with Real Wireless.
“The research has identified that there is a clear business case for MSOs to partner with MNOs. MSOs have valuable skills and experience that can be applied to small cell deployments and MNOs are looking for these skills. However, for small cell rollout to be successful it’s widely recognised that appropriate workflow and planning tools are required.”
“Automation tools such as the Amdocs Small Cell solution address the technical challenges cited by service providers and reduce network design and deployment time and costs,” said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president of product and solutions marketing for Amdocs.
“While this research indicates that there are many reasons why MSOs should partner with mobile service providers to provide backhaul, automated small cell rollout is also important for MSOs as they expand their Wi-Fi footprint and upgrade their Wi-Fi networks.”