SAN JOSE, Calif. – Small cell base stations are quietly moving from trials to real world deployments, thanks in part to a new class of SoCs. Small cells represent a new class of base stations that help carriers cost effectively handle the flood of mobile data.
Carriers are “moving beyond trials to deployments with public access use cases--we see examples from around the world,” said Gordon Mansfield, chairman of the Small Cell Forum, citing work in Korea with LTE and in Europe with Vodafone and partnerships with retailers.
In the U.S., AT&T has moved beyond trials and early projects—the “crawl and walk phases…to the run phase where we are opening up to use cases and I expect a pretty significant growth in numbers month over month,” said Mansfield who also serves as executive director of small cell solutions and radio access network delivery at AT&T Mobility.
“I can’t be specific yet about some of the types of areas” for AT&T deployments of small cells, but “hopefully we’ll talk about that in the near future,” he said. “Generally all of our use cases have been vetted in various trials and pilots, we have a couple outdoor [deployments] up and running and are evolving the use cases,” he added.
Sprint and Verizon are “starting their early test activities based on public statements they have made,” he said. The Forum is working to develop realistic worldwide shipment figures for small cells amid a wide variety of numbers from analyst reports.