Ericsson hints that small cell future may include advertising

Swedish vendor Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) appears to have bigger aspirations for small cells beyond just increasing capacity and coverage for the macro wireless network.

The company, which is currently working with China Mobile to test a GSM-based small cell base station in Nanning, the capital of China's Guangxi region, told GigaOm that its City Site small cell allows add-on modules for video ad screens, clocks, touchscreen real-time information displays and more. The company added that this technology could "provide high performance broadband coverage together with fulfilling a city's needs for de-clutter, aesthetics and add-on applications like information or advertising."

Ericsson's small cell, called City Site, consists of a 13-foot-high panel with a base station and an integrated multidirectional antenna. China Mobile is testing a GSM version of the City Site, but Ericsson says the small cell can also support 3G and LTE. Depending upon the frequency band and coverage and capacity requirements, the City Site can cover anywhere from 50 meters to 200 meters.

Ericsson isn't the only vendor suggesting alternative business models for small cells. A Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) executive recently said that Qualcomm's vision of the wireless future includes consumer electronics devices that integrate small cells, which could be used for sharing bandwidth with other nearby mobile users. The small cells would be part of a deployment model Qualcomm calls "Neighborhood Small Cells."

For more:
- see this GigaOM article
- see this CIO article

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