AT&T's Mansfield proud of persistent pace at Small Cell Forum, remains bullish about industry's roadmap

Tammy Parker, FierceWirelessTech

Just as the small cell industry is coming into its own, with small cells now on most major operators' roadmaps in one form or another, the Small Cell Forum has also matured into a go-to source for operators interested in learning about ways they can put small cells to use to gain coverage, capacity and possibly new revenue streams.

I recently spoke with both Gordon Mansfield, the group's chair--who is also AVP-small cell solutions at AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T)--and Sue Monahan, the forum's CEO, about progress the forum has made in educating operators about the possibilities inherent in small cell technology. One of the topics we discussed was the forum's release program, which now includes four releases designed to provide deployment guidance to mobile operators.

Release 1 came out in February 2013, and a considerable amount of work was contributed by forum members to that release as well as the three subsequent releases. In fact, Mansfield admitted he has been concerned about the release program's rapid pace.

"I've tried to pull the reins in several times," Mansfield said, because he feared release contributors would burn out. "But every time I've pulled the reins in, another crop of people has shown up ready to do the work," Mansfield added.

He also discussed the small cell market's momentum and product roadmap. Though in-building is where the action is currently, Mansfield predicted that operators will finally be ready to initiate significant rollouts of outdoor small cells starting in 2015. Driving this trend will be the use of LTE small cells in areas of high data traffic, he noted.

Check out more of Mansfield's insights in this special feature.--Tammy