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Operators Look for More from Enterprise Small Cells

Research shows coverage and capacity alone is not enough Other services important to mass market penetration

Independent research commissioned by ip.access - the leading specialist manufacturer and supplier of small cell solutions - has shown that simply providing traditional coverage and capacity solutions alone are no longer the only keys to wide scale Enterprise deployments of small cell technology.

In a Maravedis-Rethink survey of 20 tier one mobile network operators, all of whom were intending to deploy small cells before 2017, only one fifth said that coverage and capacity alone were sufficient reasons to drive Enterprise small cell deployment. Meanwhile some 70 per cent of operators worldwide wanted to see additional benefits as part of any deployment.

The research also covered the views of 20 organizations considering new technologies for retail or banking premises, two key target markets for operator-provided Enterprise small cells.

Here the survey highlighted some common ground between operator-thinking and that of their target customers - but also at least one significant disconnect.

When looking at the additional services that could be deployed using small cell solutions both operator and enterprise respondents highlighted location and presence-based services coupled with targeted marketing and advertising. Both groups also strongly highlighted security and authentication benefits.


Especially revealing however was the feedback from the Enterprise customers, in the retail and banking sectors, that the ability to connect mobile subscriber data to their existing big-data analytics systems was the second most important objective. This was noticeably higher than the operators ranked big-data system harmonisation at present.

Caroline Gabriel, who led the research at Rethink said: "There is a definite and significant value-added opportunity here for operators who can react first and fastest to understand the key drivers within their target Enterprise customers and offer small cell solutions that can underpin presence-based marketing and big data analytics. It is largely untapped territory and is ripe for exploitation.

"What's more," she added, "small cells have some significant advantages over other potential solutions - such as Wi-Fi and beacon technology - as they are able to pick up information from the SIM card which adds greater security in areas such as authentication."

Simon Brown, CEO of ip.access added: "We commissioned this research to independently test our thinking and approach to the marketplace. It's revealed many things we now know will be important, and also provided us with further valuable insights we will take into our product development and marketing.

"One thing is clear," he added. "The moves we have made to develop a specialist, stand-alone presenceCell, and to bring our experience from the security world into play alongside some big-data analytics capability looks to have strong resonance with the target market. All of which means we have the solution for operators that want to move now."

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