LAA, MulteFire to slash in-building network costs, report claims

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Technology combining licensed and unlicensed spectrum will lead to a drastic reduction in the cost of deploying in-building network solutions, new research has claimed.

ABI Research has said new in-building systems using licensed and unlicensed spectrum will have a market share of 21 percent in 2022, up from nothing today.

These new technologies include Licence Assisted Access (LAA), MulteFire and the Citizens Broadband Radio System, which is being deployed in the US, and will merge traditional distributed antenna systems and small cell architecure.

ABI claimed these innovations would reduce the costs of in-building deployment by up to 80 percent compared to a traditional distributed antenna system. It would also open the door to new kinds of use cases, with ABI citing private LTE networks, quad-play multiple system operators, and neutral hosts.

[Read more: Vendors to get boost from unlicensed and shared tech, report claims]

Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research, said: “These innovations will unify and converge in-building systems to a multi-technology connectivity RAN operating over licensed, unlicensed and shared spectrum.

“As a result, in-building wireless systems and ownership stand at the threshold of significant fundamental changes as new technologies usher in new use cases, new entrants, and lower costs."

VEON is just one operator who is exploring the potential of LAA. It said in October that the technology could serve as a bridge to 5G.

Vendors touting both LAA and MulteFire have said previously they expected the first commercial networks using either technology would go live by the end of 2017, a deadline that appears will be missed.