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North American enterprises to deploy 400,000 small cells this year

The Small Cell Forum also forecasts carriers in the region to install almost 850,000 small cells by 2025

North American enterprise are forecast to deploy a total of 400,000 small cells during 2018, up compared to 292,000 the previous year, according to a recent study by the Small Cell Forum. Non-residential small cell deployments in North America will account for nearly 14.3% of global small cell deployments this year, down from 19.2% in 2017, according to the study.

By 2020, enterprises in North America are expected to deploy a total of 552,000 small cells, which would represent 12.7% of global non-residential small cell deployments.

Also, the Small Cell Forum forecast total deployments of small cells in North America to reach 849,000 by 2025, or 10% of global deployments.

“In the non-residential market, Asia-Pacific (APAC) will dominate the regional deployment patterns, though with greater volatility than other regions. The APAC region will see a more pronounced pre-5G slowing of growth, because many MNOs and large corporations in east Asia will aim to be early deployers, and will slow 4G expansion accordingly. The same pattern will be seen, though to a lesser extent, in North America and Europe,” the study says.

At a global level, early small cell deployments have been dominated by indoor systems (95% in 2015) but while indoor environments will remain the most common for densification, by 2025 the percentage of new cells deployed outdoors will rise to 28%, the study states.

U.S. carriers are currently in process to deploy small cells in order to expand mobile coverage and pave the way for future 5G offerings.

Verizon Wireless is currently deploying small cells in many regions of the country in a move to meet increasing demand for data. According to a recent filing to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), nearly 62% of Verizon’s wireless deployments last year were small cells. “Small cells are needed to meet exploding consumer demand for data, drive innovation, create new jobs, and fuel new services and capabilities such as smart communities, connected cars, smart farming, and the internet of things,” the telco said.

AT&T plans to launch mobile 5G this year in 12 U.S. cities, and the carrier highlighted the service will rely on small cells deployed closer to the ground than the tower top radios that support LTE.

Last month, the FCC approved new regulation to make it easier for U.S  carriers to deploy small cell infrastructure in an effort to hasten network densification in support of 5G commercialization. At a high-level, the rule change removes federal oversight of small cells outlined in the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and removes the need to conduct an environmental assessment for small cells in floodplains “as long as certain conditions are met.” State and local regulations are still applicable.


Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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