Berg Insight is tipping small cell base station installations to grow almost 12 million over the next four years, fuelled by growing demand for mobile data.
The research firm forecasts the installed base of small cell base stations will hit 14 million in 2016, up from 2.2 million in 2011. The firm believes operators will increasingly deploy small cells - femtocells, picocells and microcells – in combination with other approaches to match the rising data usage.
Senior analyst André Malm says methods operators will adopt include acquiring more spectrum, utilizing increasingly advanced radio air interfaces, and launching heterogeneous networks (HetNets). Carriers will also look to make their macro layer more dense, by boosting the number of base stations in traffic hotspots, he states.
Operators mulling Wi-Fi offload must invest in automatic user authentication software to overcome difficulties utilizing public hotspots, Malm continues. “The user experience will soon improve as new standardization and interoperability efforts aim to make the network selection and user identification process seamless.”