Ruckus Wireless says business case for indoor LTE is lacking

BARCELONA, Spain -- A Ruckus Wireless' executive said deployment of in-building LTE coverage has been stymied by the lack of a compelling business case for mobile operators.

Juan Santiago, director of product management, told FierceWireless:Europe that there is a significant opportunity for operators in terms of boosting their in-building LTE access, with many consumers and big businesses seeking to improve coverage.

"Customers get frustrated because they can't get coverage in buildings, but the business case to enable that for mobile network operators isn't there in many cases," Santiago told FW:E in an exclusive interview at the Mobile World Congress, here.

While many enterprises utilise Wi-Fi to offer in-building wireless data coverage, Santiago said they need to offer employees and visitors a solution that provides ubiquitous coverage for mobile voice and data services.

However, Santiago noted that attempts to deploy cellular solutions are often hindered by the building materials used. He explained that while distributed antenna systems (DAS) and traditional small cells can address some of these issues, their economics and deployment complexity limit their application.

Santiago added that Ruckus Wireless hopes to overcome the challenges in deploying in-building LTE services with a new product that the company is demonstrating during MWC.

Named OpenG, the product utilises a combination of coordinated shared spectrum with neutral host-capable small cells -- a mix Santiago said enables to enable cost effective, ubiquitous in-building cellular coverage.

"We are changing the business model for in-building cellular," Santiago said.

Initial rollouts of OpenG in the U.S. run in the 3.5 GHz LTE band, Santiago explained. The company uses "15 channels of 10MHz each," in a move that he said changes the business case for mobile operators.

"All the operator needs to do is authenticate the user. The operator doesn't need to spend any money to give coverage to these businesses, and we're talking hundreds of thousands of buildings," he noted.

Ruckus previously announced it would also demonstrate a Wi-Fi calling product during MWC.

For more:
- see this Ruckus OpenG announcement

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