Over the past few years, the outdoor small cell market in the U.S. has grown substantially. The main barriers facing this 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. Accessible sites – actual, physical locations – are the scarcest resource with respect to small cell installation. There are only so many accessible 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, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile industry, believes that outdoor small cells,which iGR defines as either a metrocell, RRH deployed as a small cell or an outdoor DAS (oDAS),will be an integral part of mobile operator networks, especially as they transition to 5G.
iGR has recently published a new market study thatpresents a total addressable market forecast and an “actual” forecast for U.S. outdoor small cells, which include 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.
“iGR believes that small cells – and many of them – are inevitable, particularly as carriers march quickly down the road to 5G,” said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR. “In short, the industry cannot meet the demand for mobile data without small cells.”
iGR’s new market study, U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Forecast, 2017 – 2022: 5G Begins, provides a five-year total addressable market forecast, an “actual” forecast for U.S. outdoor small cells, and a CapEx and OpEx forecast. The study also discusses different small cell technologies and the issues surrounding their deployment.