Small Cells and HetNets from Alcatel Lucent, NSN and Ericsson Pay off Now for 3G Networks

­According to the Strategy Analytics report, small cells leverage next generation architecture but also bring the biggest immediate financial and performance benefits to 2.5G and 3G networks. Small cells are a very cost competitive way to upgrade 3G macro cells. Pico or Metro Cells have 25% lower Total Cost of Operations (TCO).

“In this new analysis small cells cost significantly less than 3G macro cells for the same coverage area but slightly more than new 4G/LTE macro cells,” noted Sue Rudd, Director Service Provider Analysis. “This is largely due to the ‘consumer electronics-like’ vulnerability of very large numbers of small cell sites that require installation and ongoing maintenance.”

“Cost is not the only reason to choose small cells since they offer faster installation for rapid upgrades in throughput,” added Phil Kendall, Director Wireless Operator Strategies “Estimates vary but small cells will probably increase throughput by over 200% as a ‘HetNet underlay ‘ in legacy 3G ‘hot zones’ or at the edge of macro cells where data throughput is poor. Throughput improvements could reduce Cost per Mbps by 30%.

Small cells will enhance both operator performance and profitability if deployed appropriately and the report identifies seven ‘use cases’ for small cell deployment. The market opportunity for these will be estimated in a forthcoming outlook and forecast.

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