Small Cells, DAS & Het-Nets

U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Forecast, 2017-2022: 5G Begins

Over the past few years, the outdoor small cell market in the U.S. has grown substantially and, as this report shows, iGR forecasts a healthy future for it.

The main barriers facing the outdoor small cell market continue to have little to do with the technology itself and more to do with actual installation issues – power, backhaul, regulations, timelines and overall cost.

The vast majority of the cost of an outdoor small cell is related to providing everything except the actual “small cell” – which iGR defines as either a metrocell, RRH deployed as a small cell (RRHaSC) or an outdoor DAS (oDAS).

Accessible sites – actual, physical locations – are the scarcest resource with respect to small cell installation. There are only so many poles, building sides and roofs in a given area, and there is only so much useable space on them. Using that space comes at a premium.

In general, these various issues, among others, have conspired to slow down the deployment of small cells by U.S. operators. However, iGR believes that small cells – and many of them – are inevitable, particularly as carriers march quickly down the road to 5G. That is, networks need to become “more dense” to support not only the initial mmWave-based 5G deployments but also to support the scaling capacity requirements of the network as 5G NR moves from the high bands to the sub-6 GHz bands.

In this market study, iGR presents a total addressable market forecast and an “actual” forecast for U.S. outdoor small cell nodes installed: metrocells, remote radio heads as small cells and outdoor DAS. The study also includes a forecast for capital expenditures (capex or network spending) and operational spending (OpEx) on actual small cell deployments.

The assumptions underlying iGR’s outdoor small cell forecasts are explained in this market study. The forecasts are further based on iGR’s global connections forecast market study and iGR’s mobile data forecast market study, as well as iGR’s primary and secondary research, and various other sources.


Key Questions Answered

  • What is an outdoor small cell? What are metrocells, RRHs and oDAS?
  • Why do the mobile networks need outdoor small cells to meet bandwidth demand?
  • How do outdoor small cells fit into operators’ evolving networks?
  • What are the issues with deploying outdoor small cells in the U.S.? How do these issues impact the number of small cells in the market?
  • What are the differences between oDAS, metrocells and remote radio heads?
  • What is the role of CPRI with outdoor small cells?
  • Where are outdoor small cells most likely to be located? What’s their role?
  • How important is location to the effectiveness of an outdoor small cell?
  • What is the total addressable market in the U.S. for outdoor small cells?
  • How does the forecast for actual outdoor small cells deployments in the U.S. compare to the U.S. outdoor small cell total addressable market forecast?
  • What is the forecast for capital expenditures and operational spending on actual outdoor small cell deployments?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile operators
  • Infrastructure OEMs
  • Small cell product and solution vendors
  • Backhaul service providers and equipment OEMs
  • Financial analysts and investors.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
  • Basic Mobile Operator Network Architecture
    • Wireless Spectrum
    • Cell Sites
    • The Different Types of Haul
  • Setting the Stage for Small Cells
    • Network “Pain Points”
    • Different Types of Small Cells
    • Hybrid Antenna System
    • DAS/Small Cell Architecture
    • Neutral-Host DAS vs. Single Host DAS
    • Changing Nature of DAS
  • Outdoor Small Deployment Issues
    • Small Cell Deployment requirements
    • Regulatory considerations
    • Small Cell Installations
    • Locations for Small Cells
    • Small Cell Deployment Issues
  • 5G Defined
    • URLLC
    • Massive IoT
    • 5G Services and Use Cases
  • U.S. Mobile Operator 5G Initiatives
    • AT&T
    • Verizon Wireless
    • T-Mobile US
    • Sprint
  • General Trends / Assumptions around Outdoor Small Cells
    • Market drivers
    • Market inhibitors
  • Outdoor Small Cells: TAM and Actual Deployments
    • Outdoor Small Cells: TAM Methodology
    • Methodology for Outdoor Small Cell – Actual Deployed Sites
  • Spending on Small Cells
  • Small Cell Vendor Profiles
    • Accelleran
    • Airspan Networks
    • CellXica
    • Comba Telecom
    • CommScope
    • Druid Software
    • Ericsson
    • Gemtek
    • Huawei
    • ip.access
    • JMA Wireless
    • Juni
    • Kathrein
    • Microlab (Wireless Telecom Group)
    • NEC
    • Nokia Networks
    • Oracle
    • Quortus
    • Samsung Electronics
    • Sercomm
    • SpiderCloud Wireless (Corning Optical Communications)
    • TeleWorld Solutions
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Different Types of Small Cells, Licensed and Unlicensed Spectrum
  • Table 2: Benefits of Neutral-Host DAS
  • Table 3: U.S. Outdoor Small Cells TAM, 2017-2022
  • Table 4: U.S. Actual Outdoor Small Cell Nodes, 2017-2022
  • Table 5: U.S. Actual Outdoor Small Cells Nodes by Type, 2017-2022
  • Table 6: Actual Outdoor Small Cell Deployments by 4G and 5G, 2017-2022
  • Table 7: Summary of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM and Actual, 2017-2022
  • Table 8: Average CapEx per Small Cell Site, 2017-2022
  • Table 9: Average OpEx per Small Cell Site, 2017-2022
  • Table 10: Total CapEx for Outdoor Small Cells, 2017-2022 ($M)
  • Table 11: Total OpEx for Outdoor Small Cells, 2017-2022 ($M)
  • Definitions

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: Comparison of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM with Actuals, 2017-2022
  • Figure 1: Basic Components of Cellular Voice/Data Network
  • Figure 2: Cell Site Backhaul Capabilities and Use Cases, Wired and Wireless
  • Figure 3: Basic DAS Configuration
  • Figure 4: DAS, BTS Hotels, and Remote Radio Heads
  • Figure 5: Types of DAS
  • Figure 6: 3GPP Approaches to Network Sharing
  • Figure 7: Possible Interference Sources in a Loaded Network
  • Figure 8: Overview of COMP
  • Figure 9: Example of Intercell Interference
  • Figure 10: Example of Coordinated Resource Blocks via ICIC
  • Figure 11: Blanking of subframes in eICIC
  • Figure 12: U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM, 2017-2022
  • Figure 13: U.S. Actual Outdoor Small Cell Nodes, 2017-2022
  • Figure 14: Actual U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Deployments by Type, 2017-2022
  • Figure 15: Actual Outdoor Small Cell Deployments by 4G and 5G, 2017-2022
  • Figure 16: Comparison of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM with Actuals, 2017-2022
  • Figure 17: Comparison of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM with Actuals, 2017-2022
  • Figure 18: Average CapEx per Small Cell Site, 2017-2022
  • Figure 19: Average OpEx per Small Cell Site, 2017-2022
  • Figure 20: Total CapEx for Outdoor Small Cells, 2017-2022 ($M)
  • Figure 21: Total OpEx for Outdoor Small Cells, 2017-2022 ($M)

For additional information on the U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Forecast, 2017-2022: 5G Begins market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.