Rural and remote areas have been targeted by the Small Cells Forum as it issued its latest guide to the deployment of small cell technology.
Release Five is aimed at a potential market of 650 million users. It outlines how vendors and operators can connect remote areas, bring coverage to ships and on-sea platforms, how small cells can connect disaster zones, how they can enable voice calls on aircraft and aid the emergency services.
The Small Cells Forum cited research from Real Wireless which claimed by connecting rural areas, operators could stand to benefit from sales of $163 billion.
Alan Law, Chair of the Small Cells Forum, said: “With Release Five we have shown that there are an incredible range of ways small cells can benefit those in rural and remote areas, from delivering 3G or 4G coverage to towns and villages, helping in the aftermath of a natural disaster or providing coverage in some of the most challenging environments imaginable.
“The fifth part of the Release Program means that all of the building blocks are in place for small cells in any environment. We are now focused on demonstrating the business and subscriber value of small cells to operators around the world, showing how the Release Program can provide the business and technical case they need.”
The release also includes a range of case studies outlining backhaul, deployment challenges, the set-up of small cell networks and the services it can use.
The forum said it was currently looking at how virtualisation can be applied to the small cell market, as well as integrating Wi-Fi with SON, Licence Assisted Access, the Internet of Things and the 5G technology.