Release Four: signposts to an exciting future from an innovative present

It’s something of a cliché to say that something is well worth the wait, but as work on Release Four nears completion we feel that the Forum and its members will soon be presenting a body of work that has thoroughly justified the decision to extend our examination of urban small cells across two releases.

Release Three: Urban Foundations offers an outline of the business case and market drivers and some of the technical challenges for urban small cells. To this we will soon be adding the valuable insights contained in Release Four: Urban. This release takes on many more of the technical issues that operators deploying urban small cells will need to know about and address.

Taken together therefore, the two releases will offer a comprehensive series of papers that cover all aspects of urban small cell layout, from market drivers and business case to network architecture, backhaul and more.

All aspects so far, that is. The publication of Release Four is far from the end of our assessment of the urban small cell landscape. Both Release Four and Release Three will, over time, be extended, revised and enhanced to take account of the many ways in which urban networks will change small cell use and be changed by it.

However, we do know some of those ways. One of the major new papers developed for Release Four offers case studies of urban small cell network rollouts that have already been developed in some important markets by a number of operator and vendor partners. Between them they offer signposts to an exciting future from an innovative present.

These rollouts take place in airports, theme parks, sporting venues, subways and at street level, to illustrate how partnerships in a number of countries are already bringing small cells to new environments. Many are environments for which, at one time, neither a business case nor a comprehensive series of technical solutions existed.

Well, that has now changed. Far from pioneering a new market as we might have been when Release Three was first contemplated, we are now offering practical help and advice to operators who are already convinced of the economic necessity of bringing small cells to people outside their home and workplace. And the case studies contained in Release Four make it very clear why. They — and all of our urban small cell release output — are well worth the wait.