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New iGR Study Finds Median CapEx of Small Cell Deployment to Be $31,000

Small Cell Costs Vary Significantly Due to Type of Small Cell, Location of Deployment, and Type of Backhaul

AUSTIN, TX -- (Marketwired) -- 05/02/14 -- Long accustomed to capital-intensive macrocell networks, mobile operators are now evolving their radio networks to small cells and het-nets to provide necessary coverage to meet the growing demand for LTE service. Operators now want and need to know how much it will cost to roll out these small cells.

iGR's new market study presents a model that answers the "what will small cells cost" question by using average cost values generated from iGR's primary and secondary research. iGR's model consists of 39 real-world scenarios that illustrate where small cells are likely to be located - poles (new or existing), building walls and building roofs. Each scenario includes different variables, such as type of small cell, backhaul type (fiber or microwave), backhaul speed, labor and installation, power and ancillary costs for other equipment. The model also shows how scale affects costs across 10, 50 or 100 small cells deployed into a given market.

"iGR found that the median CapEx cost of a small cell deployment is $31,000," said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile industry. "More importantly, we also found that there is a very wide range of CapEx costs associated with the deployments due to the type of small cell installment, the location of the installment, and the type of backhaul used. Our lowest cost scenario was $6,700 and our highest was over $64,000."

iGR's new market study, U.S. Small Cell Costs: How much will they cost to deploy?, estimates the CapEx and OpEx of deploying small cells based on multiple variables, including location, type of small cell, type of backhaul, and scale. The report also provides a detailed discussion of het-nets, small cells, typical small cell installments, and different types of mobile backhaul.

The following key questions are addressed in the new research study:

  • What is a het-net? What are small cells?
  • What are network 'pain points'?
  • What is driving the need for het-nets?
  • How are pain points identified?
  • What are different ways to address pain points?
  • Where is it appropriate to deploy small cells (indoor and outdoor)?
  • What are iGR's assumptions regarding small cell installations?
  • What outdoor locations are best suited for small cell deployments?
  • What are the average costs of these outdoor locations?
  • What is an attachment? What is the average cost of an attachment?
  • What are the different types of backhaul with regard to small cells?
  • What types of backhaul are considered in the model?
  • What is the average throughput needed for a small cell? What does that throughput cost?
  • How much does it cost to deploy small cells?

The information in this report will be valuable for:

  • Mobile operators
  • Small cell equipment manufacturers
  • Mobile backhaul suppliers
  • Tower companies
  • Antenna and tower equipment vendors
  • Financial analysts and investors.

The new report can be purchased and downloaded directly from iGR's website at Alternatively, contact Iain Gillott at (512) 263-5682 or at [email protected] for additional details.

About iGR
iGR is a market strategy consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile communications industry. Founded by Iain Gillott, one of the wireless industry's leading analysts, in late 2000 as iGillottResearch, iGR is now entering its fourteenth year of operation. iGR continuously researches emerging and existent technologies, technology industries, and consumer markets. We use our detailed research to offer a range of services to help companies improve their position in the marketplace, clearly define their future direction, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

iGR researches a range of wireless and mobile products and technologies, including: smartphones; tablets; mobile wearables; connected cars; mobile applications; bandwidth demand and use; small cell and het-net architectures; mobile EPC and RAN virtualization; DAS; LTE; VoLTE; IMS; NFC; GSM/GPRS/UMTS/HSPA; CDMA 1x/EV-DO; iDEN; SIP; macro-, pico- and femtocells; mobile backhaul; WiFi and WiFi offload; and SIM and UICC.

A more complete profile of the company can be found at

Contact iGR
Iain Gillott
(512) 263-5682
Email Contact

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