Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia are amongst the leading players in a small cell site services market that will reach over $5 billion (€4.7 billion) by 2019, a new report has claimed.
The growing demand for small cells as a solution to network capacity and coverage problems means that operators are increasingly looking to outsource operations to vendors, according to ABI Research.
Further, the unique deployment challenges facing small cells and overcrowded sites are forcing operator to establish RAN sharing agreements as well as outsource.
New, collaborative arrangements are needed to reduce equipment size and the aesthetic impact of small cell cites, ABI added.
Depending on the business model and market, site and fibre owners such as Virgin Media, Zayo and CloudBerry could also profit as the market grows.
Research Analyst Ahmed Ali commented: “Operators see small cells networks as a competitive advantage, but mass market and hotspot rollout versus limited site selection changes the equation into site sharing services.
“We will see the small cell needle move as these arrangements take hold… winning in the small cell market requires host-neutral solutions, stakeholder cooperation, and cell site services.”
The growing small cell market resulted in a flurry of announcements at this year’s Mobile World Congress.
Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent, for example, both launched new products, while Ericsson revealed Vodafone Netherlands had deployed its technology.
The Small Cell Forum also issued its latest guide to small cell deployments. Release Five, which outlines how vendors and operators can connect remote areas, aid emergency services and enable voice calls on aircraft.