Author: Nick Johnson

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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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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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ip.access at the Leading Edge

We’re pleased to announce our involvement in the 5G-PPP affiliated Horizon 2020 Project SESAME.  Building on the fundamentals for virtualised, de-centralised RAN, multi-operator deployment and edge intelligence, the SESAME consortium has a great mix of players from around Europe. Led by the Greek operator OTE, our group includes large and small vendors, research institutes, universities and consultancies, to solve the technical and economic issues arising in next-generation mobile networks. As the project culminates in a practical demonstration, ip.access’ product line and market positioning will gain a massive boost, feeding into European industry and global consumer experience as 4G networks complete...

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Multi-Operator Small Cells: the Network of Today for the Customer of Tomorrow

Multi-Operator Small Cells are still a rarity.  Yet building owners are crying in the wilderness for cellular in their buildings.  Complaints from owners of buildings regarding the quality of their coverage are met with mystification and inertia by the mobile operators.  We don’t see customer complaints, say the mobile operators.  No, say the building owners, because they complain to us.  Ah, so it’s your problem, says the mobile operator to the building owner.  And the conversation spirals downhill from there. Why is Wi-Fi so successful indoors, yet licensed radio small cells indoors still seen as exotic?  As with most technology...

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Think data growth is slowing? Think again.

Cisco recently published its VNI forecast for this year.  In the face of the periodic “data crunch denial” stories, I’ve been tracking this for the last few years, looking for evidence that the data growth is over.  But guess what, it’s not.  The forecast continues to grow on roughly the same exponent as it has the last three years.  There was a correction between 2012 and 2013, but since then – steady as she grows. The world still needs small cells, even if not everyone realises it yet!