Verizon to deploy 400 small cells in San Francisco

LAS VEGAS -- Verizon Wireless  (NYSE: VZ)  will deploy 400 small cells in San Francisco in order to densify the company's network in anticipation of the 2016 Super Bowl that will take place in that city.

According to Brian Mecum, vice president of West Coast network for Verizon, outfitting San Francisco with small cells is a big challenge because of its hills, dense population and big buildings. Plus, Mecum said the company also has to convince building owners and the city that a denser network is valuable.

"We will need a lot of small cells in areas where people congregate," he said. "Small cells deliver on the promise of the device. People can look at video content quickly and use their devices to interact on all levels," he added.

Mecum added that the company is also growing its portfolio of dark fiber for small cell backhaul. Dark fiber allows Verizon to maintain complete control over its service experience, meaning if it wants to increase capacity, it can do so on its own timeline. "We have a good leadership in dark fiber," Mecum said. "We can deploy dark fiber when we want it and can grow capacity."

Some companies, such as Wilcon and Tower Cloud are happy to provide the operator with dark fiber solutions. Last year Verizon named Tower Cloud as its backhaul partner for its LTE small cell deployment in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

Interestingly, Mecum also said that in Los Angeles the company will deploy 200 LED light poles from Philips and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC)  that will reduce power consumption and contain a high power small cell that helps Verizon increase its coverage. The first light pole has been deployed in West Hollywood.

Ericsson and Philips announced their joint effort to develop LED street lights outfitted with small cells and backhaul at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. At the time, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg said that the two companies were working with cities to upgrade existing lamp poles to LED lighting and also outfit the poles with a small radio base station that is not intrusive but provides additional mobile broadband capacity.

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