Ken Wieland 7/9/2020
Traditional mobile network operators (MNOs) will account for a much lower proportion of small cell rollouts by 2026. Why? Because other companies will exploit new business opportunities in the likes of private enterprise networks and neutral hosting.
This was one of the key findings in the latest annual "Market Status Report" from the Small Cell Forum (SCF), an industry body that's just as keen on validating uses cases as it is on providing technical guidance so long as it accelerates small-cell deployment.
The good news for small-cell suppliers is that SCF thinks newcomer activity will deliver pretty much incremental growth. The forum estimates over three-quarters of small cells deployed by non-traditional operators between 2020 and 2026 would not have been implemented at all had MNOs been the only small-cell players in town.
SCF forecasts that as many as 30% of the installed base of outdoor small cell networks are likely to be operated by new entrants to the cellular segment by 2026. That proportion shoots up to
71% at the end of the six-year forecast period when it comes to indoor enterprise systems.
The forum reckons the profile of small-cell newcomers will be varied, comprising "incomers" from the cloud, Wi-Fi, tower and enterprise/private network spaces, as well as innovative new players (such as neutral hosts, private network operators and enterprise or city specialists).
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