Press Release: MNOs redirecting resources to virtualization and complex multilayered HetNets, Small Cell Deployments are delayed while carrier WiFi makes headway


MIAMI, Florida, and BROCKENHURST, England, June 25, 2014- There will be a significant shift in operator budgets at the expense of conventional equipment, towards new HetNet platforms, driven by advanced software, virtualization and new access points according to the latest biannual report from Maravedis-Rethink’s RAN Service, entitled Towards the hyper-dense network – the shape of the HetNet 2014-2019.

Although first-wave LTE networks have generally followed familiar patterns, focusing on coverage and low frequency bands, operators are making detailed plans to add capacity and density using a mixture of tools including small cells, carrier WiFi and new macro antenna technologies. A key new infrastructure trend will be the rise of WiFi homespots, which support public access via a second SSID. These will reach an installed base of over 410 million by 2019 and will be a weapon for some MNOs in ‘inside-out’ capacity models. However, they will also enable wireline carriers to disrupt the MNOs’ markets, driving new competition for subscribers.

For most MNOs, these dense, multilayered deployments will not gather pace until 2015 onwards. Most carriers are also holding out for several key developments which will improve the business case - 3G/4G/WiFi multimode access points at affordable prices; advanced SON (self-optimizing network) tools; and standards-based platforms for HetNet virtualization.

Caroline Gabriel, Research Director at Maravedis-Rethink and author of the report, commented: “The industry is taking longer than previously expected to deploy small cells in large volumes, except in a few markets, but when key enablers like virtualization and SON are in place, the floodgates will open for dense RANs harnessing a combination of macro and metro level technologies. The real gold mines will lie in the software to optimize these new networks and maximize their returns.”

Other key findings:

  • Operators are thinking in terms of small cell sites rather than one technology only. Public access metrocell new deployments will rise from 65,000 in 2013 to over 4.3m in 2019 but other options like DAS will also see growth for small cell coverage.
  • Few carriers will deploy full data center-based Cloud-RAN until 2018 or later, but 62% say they will introduce elements of virtualized processing to their HetNets in 2015 to 2018.


MARAVEDIS-RETHINK is a leading analyst firm focusing on wireless infrastructure technologies and markets.

For more information, contact:

Adlane Fellah,

Customer Engagement


Tel:  +1 (305) 865 1006

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