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Small Cells, DAS & Het-Nets

U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Forecast, 2018-2023: Not getting any easier

Over the past few years, the outdoor small cell market in the U.S. has grown substantially, but roadblocks to more widespread deployment persist and iGR believes these issues continue to impact the market. 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.

This forecast focuses on the future for small cells in the sub 6 GHz band and mmWave band. The forecast assumes that most currently deployed LTE small cells will eventually be upgraded to 5G NR. The rate at which that happens depends on when the MNOs start migrating their spectrum from LTE to 5G NR.

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, outdoor DAS and mmWave-based small cells.

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 is the regulatory environment for deploying small cells?
  • 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 this vary by small cells for mmWave and sub-6 GHz?
  • 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? How does this vary by small cells for mmWave and sub-6 GHz?

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
    • What This Means
  • 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
    • Summary of Small Cell-related Regulations and Legislation
  • Outdoor Small Cells: TAM and Actual Deployments
    • Outdoor Small Cells: TAM Methodology
    • Methodology for Actually Deployed Outdoor Small Cells
  • Small Cell Vendor Profiles
    • Accelleran
    • Airspan Networks
    • CellXica
    • Comba Telecom
    • CommScope
    • Corning SpiderCloud Wireless
    • Druid Software
    • Ericsson
    • Gemtek
    • Huawei
    • ip.access
    • JMA Wireless
    • Kathrein
    • Microlab (Wireless Telecom Group)
    • NEC
    • Nokia Networks
    • Oracle
    • Quortus
    • Samsung Electronics
    • Sercomm
    • TeleWorld Solutions
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table A: Comparison of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM to Actuals, 2018-2023
  • 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, LTE and mmWave (NR), 2018-2023
  • Table 4: U.S. Actual Outdoor Small Cells, Sub 6 GHz and mmWave, 2018-2023
  • Table 5: U.S. Actual Outdoor Sub 6 GHz Small Cells by Type, 2018-2023
  • Table 6: Actual Outdoor Sub 6 GHz Small Cell Deployments by 4G and 5G, 2018-2023
  • Definitions

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: Comparison of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM with Actuals, 2018-2023
  • 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, 2018-2023
  • Figure 13: U.S. Actual Outdoor Small Cells, Sub 6 GHz and mmWave, 2018-2023
  • Figure 14: Actual U.S. Outdoor Sub 6 GHz Small Cells Deployments by Type, 2018-2023
  • Figure 15: Actual Outdoor Sub 6 GHz Small Cell Deployments by 4G and 5G, 2018-2023

For additional information on the U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Forecast, 2018-2023: Not getting any easier market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.