April 24, 2015 — ClearSky Technologies, which provides Small Cells as a Service (SCaaS) infrastructure to regional mobile operators, has found that small, rural operators can use a hand with planning the small cell deployments as well.
“Our business model is predicated on the reality that a lot of the network infrastructure cost is a bit much for some of the small operators to bite off, yet they have to compete successfully with the top-tier players,” ClearSky Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Tony Tagliareni told AGL Small Cell Link. “It just makes sense that the operator doesn’t have to come up with the money to buy the equipment or come up to speed with the technical expertise, and they can get to market a lot quicker.”
In 2012, ClearSky began marketing SCaaS, which which save capex by connecting the operator’s 3G core or evolved packet core with a hosted small cell gateway. Last fall, it announced a strategic relationship with Cisco Systems to offer SCaaS using the Cisco Small Cell Gateway infrastructure.
“So we made the investment in a Cisco small cell gateway, which costs millions to install, made it capable of handling multiple tenants, and now we will connect it to as many operators as we can,” Tagliareni said.
In meetings with the operators concerning the SCaaS, however, Tagliareni found that the regional operators were at a loss as to how many small cells they anticipated deploying, what type of small cells and where will they be located.
“Without exception, all the operators were like a deer in the headlights. They had no answers, and we realized they didn’t have the tools necessary to assess that on their own. They only knew how to deploy macrocells,” he said.
With the purchase of NetView 360 last August, ClearSky has expanded from hosted and managed services into consulting services, discerning coverage gaps, traffic hot spots and the optimal combination of indoor, outdoor, low-power or high-power sites to meet any coverage or capacity needs.
“With NetView 360, we have an RF planning and optimization tool to give the operator the knowledge to move forward with a small cell deployment. It is a hand-in-glove relationship with our Small Cell as a Service offering,” Tagliareni said. NetView 360 has also been used by ClearSky to do macrocellular RF optimization for LTE sites in Guam.
ClearSky announced last month that CellularOne of East Central Illinois is the latest customer using NetView 360. The vendor now has more than a dozen operators using its RF network optimization services.