The Radio Dot will go into customer trials before June and ship in volume in the second half of 2014. "It's running in the lab where we're working on testing it," said Ewaldsson.
"We came out with this now because it will make a lot of changes to the small cell market, and we need to let our customers plan for it," Ewaldsson said. "Most operators make one-year plans so they are working on their 2014 investments," he said.
Nick Marshall, a wireless analyst at ABI Research, said Ericsson is relatively late to the market with small cell for indoor users. Alcatel-Lucent came out early with its palm-sized LightRadio.
Cisco, Huawei, and others are expected to ship new indoor cellular systems before the Radio Dot, he said. Vodaphone Netherlands is already deploying the E-RAN system from SpiderCloud, he added. Revenue for these so-called enterprise femtocell systems is growing at a 50 percent compound rate to $2 billion by 2018, ABI estimates.
A number of other vendors -- including Corning/Mobile Access, CommScope, TE Connectivity, and Axell Wireless -- are selling distributed antenna systems using fibre. However that market is only grwoing at about 14 percent to reach a similar $2 billion revenues by 2018, ABI forecasts.
Radio Dot "is an interesting approach to the user density and data rate challenges facing all operators globally," said Stephen Turnbull, a marketing manager in the wireless division of Freescale Semiconductor. "At this juncture there is not a standard approach to solve these issues, nor even consensus across the operator community -- this makes for a very exciting time," he said