Ericsson urges operators to look at alternatives to small cells

Ericsson is urging mobile operators to work on bolstering their macro network infrastructure before turning to small-cell architectures.

"[Operators] need to sort out their macro sites, then roll out 'fill-in' sites with a layer of small cells at the same order of magnitude as their macro sites," said Magnus Ewerbring, vice president and head of Ericsson's mobile broadband division, in a Total Telecom article. "Don't just spray an area with thousands of small cells."

Using the Shinkjuku district in Tokyo, Japan, as an example, Ewerbring said the 1.5-square kilometer region is heavily congested with businesses and train station. Some 16 macro base stations augmented by about 20 indoor sites provide enough capacity for the 3.5 million people who move through the region every day.

At this point, small cells face a higher operational expense, Ewerbring said. Leasing, building, backhaul and ongoing maintenance costs outweigh the benefits at this point. These are issues the small-cell vendor community is working on.

That's not to say that Ericsson is anti-small cells. It has a heterogeneous network strategy, but advocates exhausting other capacity enhancements before resorting to small cells.

For more:
- see this Total Telecom article

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Vodafone uses femtocells to extend 3G coverage
Small cells making big waves

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