Cisco confirms shutdown of licensed small cell unit

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Current Analysis reported last week that Cisco will stop selling its in-house, licensed-spectrum small cells this month.

Cisco confirmed an analyst's report last week that it is discontinuing its licensed Universal Small Cell 8000 Series enterprise radio products.

GlobalData (previously known as Current Analysis) analyst Ed Gubbins published a report last week saying Cisco will stop selling its in-house, licensed-spectrum small cells this month, effectively reducing that business to a loose partnership with SpiderCloud Wireless. “It’s the end of an era, but may set the stage for Cisco’s next small-cell strategy,” he said in a research note.

Cisco told FierceWirelessTech in a statement today that it continually reviews its business and investments and makes necessary changes to its portfolio to drive long-term profitable growth and support customer needs, but the small cell market just didn't mature fast enough.

"The small cell market did not mature as the industry anticipated, and we have recently made the decision to discontinue our licensed Universal Small Cell (USC) 8000 Series enterprise radio products," the company said. "This decision on the radio portfolio is consistent with our Service Provider Mobility strategy to focus on software and solutions, leveraging our market-leading virtualized Ultra Services Platform."

Cisco said it is committed to supporting customers of these products throughout the transition. "Our small cell strategy is now focused on partnerships that deliver the greatest value to our customers, such as our agreement with SpiderCloud Wireless to develop 3.5 GHz CBRS bolt-on modules for the Cisco Aironet 1572 Series outdoor access points." 

Cisco previously discussed its 3.5 GHz solution, where it's participating in an outdoor CBRS trial with SpiderCloud and a large, unnamed telecom provider. 

Art King, director of enterprise services and technologies at SpiderCloud, earlier this week characterized the company’s relationship with Cisco as “healthy.” The reseller relationship has changed, so Cisco is not directly selling SpiderCloud equipment to customers—which, as Light Reading points out, could improve Cisco’s relationship with SpiderCloud competitor Ericsson—but it’s more of a “go-to-market” partnership together, King told FierceWirelessTech.

RELATED: Cisco, SpiderCloud partner on 3.5 GHz CBRS

Last year, SpiderCloud introduced the industry’s first enterprise small cell system that simultaneously offers LTE services on licensed spectrum and on the 3.5 GHz CBRS band. The company was the first to make it possible to deploy LTE in medium to large buildings, commercial venues and campuses in the same way that Wi-Fi is deployed. Service providers including Verizon, Vodafone and Telcel have deployed its solution, called Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN), since 2012.

Prior to the 3.5 GHz CBRS band becoming available—the FCC is still finalizing administration of the service—an enterprise that wanted to build a private wireless network would have to use unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz bands.

Interestingly, last month Cisco filed paperwork with the FCC seeking to modify an existing license that would have it using various equipment in the 3650-3700 MHz band for testing at Cisco and customer locations across the country. The application included a request to test in the 3550-3700 MHz space at “Cisco campus and trade shows” using LTE.

Editor's Note: Article updated July 19 with information provided by Cisco.