— The big question in the industry is how we can address the mobile data explosion with small cells. Clearly, the industry has to rethink the use of in-building wireless. The macro cellular network simply cannot keep up with demand, especially when most of spectrum use comes from within buildings. The sober reality is that not all small cells are the same.
Conversations at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year highlighted the need to move beyond providing the basics of reliable indoor coverage and capacity and the same when/where segmentation that took place in Wi-Fi over a decade ago, is now taking place for small cells.
Small cells are blurring the lines between networks as well as the lines between enterprise and service provider Wi-Fi. The exploding use of smartphones and mobile applications has created major concerns about enterprises’ use of over-the-top (OTT) services. Is this the death of the desk phone? Will enterprise IT teams look to operators for support to handle BYOD and consider mobility as a service?
If they do, enterprises are looking at potential savings of $60 billion over the next few years. In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, almost half of the respondents reported interest in mobile device management as an operator-hosted service to manage, monitor, secure and support mobile devices in the enterprise, and demonstrated an interest in Wi-Fi-as-a-service from their operator.
Use of small cells can indeed give mobile operators an inside advantage with enterprise customers. We are entering a period of where mobility and agile network services are delivered by communications providers. It is the emergence of a new role for mobile operators. Beyond basic coverage and capacity, this is a battle for apps and the Cloud. As we look to the 2020 services network, enterprise customers and mobile operators together will help transition customers from a wireless world to a mobile world – from “Outside-In to Inside-Out” networks.
What we do know is that multi-access small cells (3G+4G+Wi-Fi) are fast becoming a reality, and that not all small cells are the same, and that is the sober reality.
Haraldsvik rejoined SpiderCloud Wireless in June 2012 as senior vice president and CMO, having formerly served as VP Marketing July 2008 through to mid December 2010. He has more than 23 years of global strategic marketing and industry experience from a range of technology segments including radio access networks, small cells, Wi-Fi, web and video optimization, wireline networking and IP services, RFID, personal computing, wafer fabrication, software and consumer devices.
You can follow Ronny Haraldsvik at Twitter @haraldsvik