Latests Blog Posts

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Taking stock – the importance of connectivity

As the industry catches its breath after the annual flurry of activity around Mobile World Congress (MWC), it’s a good time to quickly reflect on some of the trends for the rest of 2017 that emerged from the event. Cutting through the usual hullaballoo it was possible to identify three key themes: the accelerating evolution and commercial relevance of the internet of things (IoT); the emergence of extreme low latency as the key differentiator in 5G; and the growing importance of neutral host. Of these themes, it is perhaps most encouraging to see genuine progress on IoT. There are still...

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Placing the spotlight on neutral host and spectrum sharing @ Mobile World Congress 2017

2017 is likely to be a crucial year for the mobile industry. Operators continue to face a number of challenges, from flatlining revenues and the end of roaming charges, to an unprecedented demand for data. Meanwhile the promise of 5G and new spectrum remains many years away. As such 2017 is the year that the industry finally embraces neutral host deployment models and spectrum sharing approaches. Neutral host deployments are increasingly gaining traction as operators continue to seek new ways to extend their networks particularly for enterprise users. Meanwhile, shared access models such as Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and...

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Urban and rural small cells: Are operators fighting the wrong battle?

It may seem ludicrous to describe the deployment of small cells as an emotional issue, but when it comes to outdoor small cells, the planning meetings are anything but rational. Communities are concerned about the thin-end-of-the-wedge that new cell sites represent and fight tooth-and-nail to prevent what they see as a despoiling of their environment. Local authorities and municipalities are often underinformed as to the issues and options for small cell deployment. Unable to evaluate alternatives, the result is stasis. At the recent HetNet Expo a panel of telecoms executives voiced their frustrations at this situation. The group called on...

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Exploring real world use cases for small cell neutral host

Last week we had the pleasure (and pressure) of hosting a workshop at Small Cells Americas on the emerging hot topic of neutral host service provision. Organising these things is always nerve-racking. Is anyone going to turn up? Will the earlier workshops say everything we were planning to say? Will people be bored senseless and leave en masse halfway through? All of these emotions will be familiar to anyone looking to stick their neck out and say something interesting to a group of their well-informed peers. But I needn’t’ve worried. We had a great panel who just lit the place up with challenging insights and ideas. Bryan...

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Enhancing indoor coverage: The spectrum sharing opportunity

Over recent years, mobile operators have faced falling or flat lining revenues, while the demand for enhanced indoor cellular coverage and data capacity has continued to grow at an unprecedented rate. Operators’ struggles to deal with these twin challenges are directly impacting businesses. A Nemertes survey revealed that a staggering 94% of businesses globally agree that the quality of cellular coverage affects their business in some way. However, what’s even more concerning is that the same survey found that 45% of those businesses are seriously frustrated with their mobile voice quality. These frustrations mean that business owners are increasingly prepared...

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Shared Spectrum Makes Everyone a Mobile Operator (and that’s a good thing)

It’s been a busy week for CBRS.  Hot on the heels of a note from our respected competitor Spidercloud, Brocade also promotes their CBRS plans. The world of spectrum licensing is evolving fast. Well, fast compared to the normally glacial pace of regulatory change.  The shared spectrum model the FCC has embraced for CBRS is the most advanced of several current models, including Licensed Shared Access (LSA) in Europe, and TV-Whitespace globally. From a certain angle, in a bright light, with your eyes screwed up tight, you can see CBRS’ lineage back to the shared access model that emerged in...

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Not all small cells are problematic – the enterprise offers a more attractive route to urban densification

The past few months have seen increased media attention and discussion around the quality of urban Small Cell deployments by the likes of Mobilitie and Crown Castle. This culminated last week with the downgrading of Crown Castle’s small cell business by analyst house BTIG research. The incident highlights how urban small cell rollouts are being compromised because of slap-dash workmanship, which is creating an unsightly environmental mess and leading to a political back-pressure against deployments. Rather than being any sort indictment of small cell technology, the problem seems to stem from inadequate policies and working procedures between vendors, carriers and...

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RCR Wireless webinar: Scalability, ROI and the business case for small cells

I was recently given the opportunity to take part in a webinar hosted by RCR Wireless to discuss the future of small cells. The industry finds itself at an interesting juncture and it was great to be joined by Iain Gillott, President of iGR, and Dave Mayo, SVP Technology at T-Mobile US, to debate the current commercial status of small cell technology. Here at ip.access we are firmly of the belief that the telecoms industry needs to embrace innovative new business models if we are to realise the full benefit of small cell technology in current and future networks. At...

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LTE Small Cells – improving the value proposition of satellite backhaul applications

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Global VSAT Forum (GVF) conference, chaired by ip.access partner Huckworthy, on the topic of cellular backhaul. The GVF typically looks to promote the satellite communications industry, and given the overlap in vertical markets between satellite and small cells, their invite to attend a cellular focused event was too good to refuse. The day consisted of around 15 speakers from industry (including our own Nick Johnson), each talking on a topic roughly aligned to the conference subject of satellite backhauling for cellular. As each speaker presented and then engaged in Q&A with...

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A night to celebrate

London, May 12, 2016: Independent companies took centre stage in London last night at the Small Cell Forum’s annual awards ceremony. I’d say it’s the equivalent to the ‘Oscars’ for the Small Cells Industry, where any company which carries weight in the small cell space, would have a seat at the table. For ip.access it was night of company and personal triumph. The company’s new VIPER platform won the prestigious Judges’ Choice Award while Founder and CTO Nick Johnson collected the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award in recognition of his long-term leadership and role in the Forum over many...