Large-scale rollouts of small cells in the United States will likely start next year, but Nokia Siemens Networks' CEO Rajeev Suri believes it will be a couple of years at least before sales of the diminutive base stations deliver sizable sales revenues.
Wi-Fi offloading from cellular networks is clearly no longer an afterthought, as evidenced by IHS iSuppli's forecast that nearly 1.2 billion handsets out of a total of 1.9 billion produced in 2015 will include Wi-Fi functionality.
As U.S. mobile operators watch their LTE subscribers grow, they are also seeing their LTE operating expenses take off, meaning their opex will outpace capex spending starting in 2015, according to a new report from iGR.
AT&T's Project Velocity IP, or VIP, includes the deployment of more than 40,000 small cells and those small cells will be instrumental in delivering a good customer experience, especially when it comes to Voice over LTE, which the operator plans to launch in some markets by year-end.
Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead said the carrier will deploy Voice over LTE technology in early 2014, and promised that the carrier will not deliver a poor experience in terms of voice quality when it does so.
Swedish vendor Ericsson appears to have bigger aspirations for small cells beyond just increasing capacity and coverage for the macro wireless network.
Qualcomm's vision of the wireless future includes consumer electronics devices that integrate small cells, which could be used for sharing bandwidth with other nearby mobile users.
Juniper Research is predicting almost unfathomable amounts of mobile data traffic will be generated by mobile handsets and tablets by 2017, but only a mere 40 percent of the data will go over cellular networks.
The small cell market is bifurcating between public access and metrocell equipment vs. consumer-grade femtocells, resulting in two distinct roadmaps for sales of baseband processors for small cells, according to ABI Research.
Cisco Systems is boosting its small cell and femtocell activity by acquiring UK-based Ubiquisys for $310 million (£205 million). The deal is scheduled to close by the end of 2013 and involves a combination of cash and employee retention incentives.