Hold On For Just One Second!

Before you leave, how about subscribing to iGR Opinion, our regular industry newsletter?






Small Cells, DAS & Het-Nets

U.S. Small Cell Costs: How much will they cost to deploy?

Small cells and het-nets are two common buzz words that describe how mobile operators are evolving their radio networks. Long accustomed to capital intensive macrocell networks, the key question everyone is asking is: How much will it cost to rollout small cells?

One problem, of course, is that every market is different. What costs $X in Manhattan might cost $Y in Los Angeles or $Z in Austin. This report presents a model that answers the “what will small cells cost” question by using average cost values generated from iGR’s primary and secondary research.

The cost assumptions iGR used in its model are detailed in this report. iGR’s model consists of four real-world scenarios that illustrate where small cells are likely to be located – poles (new or existing), building walls and building roofs. Each scenario includes different variables, such as type of small cell, backhaul type (fiber or microwave), backhaul speed, labor and installation, power and ancillary costs for other equipment.

The model also shows how scale affects costs across 10, 50 or 100 small cells deployed into a given market. Where it made sense, iGR held certain variables constant (backhaul throughput is one example), but let others fluctuate – e.g., attachment cost per pole, building side or roof.

Note that while iGR’s small cell cost model was built on average values it can just as easily generate a much more specific answer based on variables unique to a given market.


Key Questions Answered

  • What is a het-net? What are small cells?
  • What are network ‘pain points’?
  • What is driving the need for het-nets?
  • How are pain points identified?
  • What are different ways to address pain points?
  • Where is it appropriate to deploy small cells (indoor and outdoor)?
  • What are iGR’s assumptions regarding small cell installations?
  • What outdoor locations are best suited for small cell deployments?
  • What are the average costs of these outdoor locations?
  • What is an attachment? What is the average cost of an attachment?
  • What are the different types of backhaul with regard to small cells?
  • What types of backhaul are considered in the model?
  • What is the average throughput needed for a small cell? What does that throughput cost?
  • How much does it cost to deploy small cells?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile operators
  • Small cell equipment manufacturers
  • Mobile backhaul suppliers
  • Tower companies
  • Antenna and tower equipment vendors
  • Financial analysts and investors

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
    • Assumptions Regarding Small Cell Installation
    • Locations for Small Cells
    • Backhaul
      • Bandwidth required
      • Fiber
      • Wireless
    • Power
    • Cost Scenarios
  • Methodology
  • Overview of Het-Nets
    • Macro cell coverage
    • Small cell coverage and capacity
    • Movement
    • Pain points
    • Modeling Het-Nets
  • Emerging Ways of Handling “Pain Points”
    • Identifying Pain Points
    • Different Types of Small Cells
    • Femtocells and Picocells
    • Defining a Metrocell
    • Where is it appropriate to deploy a small cell?
  • Small Cell Cost Model
    • Small cell requirements
    • Regulatory considerations
    • Assumptions Regarding Small Cell Installation
    • Locations for Small Cells
    • Backhaul
      • Bandwidth required
      • Cost estimates
    • Wired, Copper
    • Wired, Fiber
    • Optical options
    • Wireless
      • NLoS, nLOS and LOS
      • PTP and PTM
      • Licensed vs. Unlicensed Microwave
      • Concerns and issues with Wireless Backhaul
    • Wireless Backhaul Assumptions for Small Cell Model
    • Other Costs
  • Cost Scenarios
  • Existing Pole
    • LTE Metrocell
    • LTE Remote Radio Heads
  • New Pole
    • LTE Metrocells, New Poles
    • LTE Remote Radio Heads, New Poles
  • Building Side
    • LTE Metrocells, Building Side
    • LTE Remote Radio Heads, Building Sides
  • Building Roof
    • LTE Metrocells, Building Roof
    • LTE Remote Radio Heads, Building Roof
  • Small Cell Vendor Profiles
    • Airspan Networks
    • Airvana Corporation
    • Alcatel-Lucent
    • Argela
    • Cisco
    • Ericsson
    • Gemtek
    • Huawei
    • ip.access
    • Juni
    • NEC
    • NSN (Nokia Solutions and Networks)
    • Oracle Acme Packet
    • Public Wireless
    • PureWave Networks
    • Quortus
    • Ruckus Wireless
    • Samsung Electronics
    • Sercomm
    • SpiderCloud Wireless
    • Taqua LLC
    • Ubee-Airwalk
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
    • General
    • Device Types
    • Services
    • Network Technology
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table A: Small Cell Deployment Cost Scenario Summary
  • Table 1: AT&T In-Stadium Network Usage
  • Table 2: LTE Metrocell Existing Pole (Lit Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 3: LTE Metrocell Existing Pole (Lit Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 4: LTE Metrocell Existing Pole (“Transfer” Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 5: LTE Metrocell Existing Pole (“Transfer” Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 6: LTE Metrocell Existing Pole (Wireless Backhaul)
  • Table 7: RRH Existing Pole (Lit Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 8: RRH Existing Pole (Lit Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 9: RRH Existing Pole (Dark Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 10: RRH Existing Pole (Dark Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 11: RRH Existing Pole (“Transfer” Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 12: RRH Existing Pole (“Transfer” Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 13: LTE Metrocell New Pole (Lit Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 14: LTE Metrocell New Pole (Lit Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 15: LTE Metrocell New Pole (Transfer Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 16: LTE Metrocell New Pole (Transfer Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 17: LTE Metrocell New Pole (Wireless Backhaul)
  • Table 18: RRH New Pole (Lit Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 19: RRH New Pole (Lit Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 20: RRH New Pole (Dark Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 21: RRH New Pole (Dark Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 22: RRH New Pole (Transfer Fiber, Aerial)
  • Table 23: RRH New Pole (Transfer Fiber, Trenched)
  • Table 24: LTE Metrocell Building Side (Lit Fiber)
  • Table 25: LTE Metrocell Building Side (Transfer Fiber)
  • Table 26: LTE Metrocell Building Side Pole (Wireless Backhaul)
  • Table 27: RRH Building Side (Lit Fiber)
  • Table 28: RRH Building Side (Dark Fiber)
  • Table 29: RRH Building Side (Transfer Fiber)
  • Table 30: LTE Metrocell Building Roof (Lit Fiber)
  • Table 31: LTE Metrocell Building Roof (Transfer Fiber)
  • Table 32: LTE Metrocell Building Roof (Wireless Backhaul)
  • Table 33: RRH Building Roof (Lit Fiber)
  • Table 34: RRH Building Side (Dark Fiber)
  • Table 35: RRH Building Roof (Transfer Fiber)

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: Small Cell Cost Comparison, 10 LTE Metrocells
  • Figure 1: Theoretical City with Cell Sites
  • Figure 2: Theoretical City with Smaller Macro Cells
  • Figure 3: Commute Routes in a Theoretical City
  • Figure 4: Theoretical Bandwidth Pain Points in City X
  • Figure 5: Het-Net Overview
  • Figure 6: One View of the Het-Net
  • Figure 7: CPRI Specification
  • Figure 8: Wireless as a Last-Mile Solution
  • Figure 9: PtP and PtMP Wireless Backhaul
  • Figure 10: Airvana Femtocell Service Manager
  • Figure 11: Cisco Licensed Small Cell Solution
  • Figure 12: Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi Solution
  • Figure 13: Gemtek WLTFSR-Series Gateway
  • Figure 14: Juni LTE Small Cell Solution
  • Figure 15: Oracle Communications Security Gateway
  • Figure 16: SpiderCloud E-RAN System

For additional information on the U.S. Small Cell Costs: How much will they cost to deploy? market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.