A new report from Berg Insights says the installed base of small cell base stations is growing at a compound annual rate of 44.8% a year, and is forecast to reach 14 million units by 2016. In 2011, there were an estimated 2.2 million installed small cell base stations, according to Berg.
As exploding data traffic stretches the capacity of mobile networks, operators are turning to small cells to extend the coverage and capacity of their macro networks. The Berg report included femtocells (usually found in homes), picocells and microcells in its estimate of small cell base station growth.
Andre Mann, senior analyst with Berg Insights, says that successful small cell deployments will be part of heterogenous networks that include multiple radio access technologies, architectures, and backhaul solutions, and base stations of varying transmission power. Mann also believes that operators need to take advantage of Wi-Fi offloading by using connectivity management software.
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