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NEC brings indoor small cell solution to Sunrise

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NEC is deploying its residential small cell product in Swiss operator Sunrise Communications' network to help boost in-building coverage for residential customers.

The operator is using NEC's gateway, which sits between Sunrise's network core and an internet service provider's broadband network. From there, it can manage tens of thousands of residential femtocells, as well as enterprise-grade indoor small cells.

The solution works by aggregating indoor small cell networks into a standardised interface that connects with the core network. NEC said this can streamline both deployment and management of the network.

The solution gives customers indoor box access points that are self-installing and the size of a Wi-Fi modem. It can support up to four mobile phones at the same time, with a propagation range of 20 metres.

Martin Guthrie, Head of Business Development in EMEA at NEC Corporation, said: "The installed base of over a million units shows this technology works. It provides plug-and-play capability and delivers the reliability that consumers need, which also helps keep support costs as low as possible for the operator.”

Elmar Grasser, COO at Sunrise, said: “NEC’s indoor box solution is ideally suited to helping Sunrise’s customers boost their mobile signal at home so we can continue to deliver the best possible network experience across Switzerland.”

The vendor said 28 operators across 17 countries are using its residential small cell solution and added its installed base of enterprise radio access networks is increasing.

Sunrise currently provides 3G/HSPA coverage of more than 98 percent across Switzerland and launched its LTE network during the past 12 months.

Small cell deployment is set to bounce back from a disappointing 2013, with Infonetics predicting the market will grow by 65 percent by the end of 2014. Last year, 642,000 units were sold, the majority of which were on 3G. Sales were worth €557 million in 2013, compared to the €17.3bn 2G and 3G RAN market.