The market for outdoor picocells - tiny ‘cell sites’ that mobile network operators can attach to electricity poles, lamp posts, and rooftops - is expected to reach $8 billion (almost £5 billion) in global revenue by 2016, according to ABI Research.
Aditya Kaul, practice director for mobile networks at ABI Research, said “Mobile operators have already started to compete on mobile broadband speeds apart from coverage, and small cells will help them differentiate their services. Operators are likely to start with identifying specific ‘hot sites’ in congested metro areas, and start using outdoor picocells to alleviate capacity demand. Outdoor small cells are just another tool operators can use in conjunction with macro network optimization, Wi-Fi offload, caching, media compression, and other techniques. Apart from outdoor small cells having a role in urban areas, they also have a role in rural and suburban areas where zoning restrictions prevent macro tower deployments.”
Having started to deploy microcells and picocells, operators now need to need to ensure that ‘small cell’ backhaul doesn’t adversely affect overall OPEX or CAPEX, according to the report.