In our latest blog, SCF Chair Alan Law reflects on the highlight of MWC 2016 for all those involved with Small Cells.
Another Mobile World Congress is over, and it was a memorable one for Small Cell Forum. Not only did we unveil Release 6 Smart Enterprise and extremely positive new research figures, but our HetNet roadmaps tapped into many of the broader themes of the conference, from unlicensed spectrum to the IoT.
It was wonderful to see so many SCF members in Barcelona, and also the large numbers of people, many new to the Forum, who congregated in our Small Cell Zone to hear the presentations and discuss the latest developments. Our messages were certainly reaching a wider audience than ever, as the challenges we have been addressing for years – such as mobile enterprise and densification – move to the front of the whole industry’s mind. Release 6, which provides a hugely valuable resource for the Smart Enterprise, struck a particularly strong chord with attendees.
The big themes of MWC 2016 were reflected in the rolling series of on-stand presentations, which scored highly for variety, quality and topical appeal. It was particularly gratifying to see so many real world deployments showcased. Julius Robson outlined some of the case studies which the Forum has been collecting, ranging from rural locations in Japan and Mexico to hectic call centers. And among the operators recounting their experiences were Softbank, Vodafone, Union Wireless and Reliance Jio. There was even the chance to welcome back a former Forum chair, Gordon Mansfield, with an update on AT&T’s HetNet activities.
The diversity of small cell use cases was highlighted by other talks too, including BMW’s in-vehicle CrowdCell with Vodafone and a range of angles on enterprise and rural roll-out. And as always, it was great to see high profile industry analysts providing their latest figures and opinions on small cells.
Among these were updates on the latest research studies commissioned by the Forum, which provide a sunny outlook for deployments in the year ahead, particularly in the enterprise market. A survey of 5,000 enterprises by Nemertes Research found that no fewer than 60% of them plan to have deployed small cells by the end of 2017, while Market Experts’ latest status update predicts that small cell annual revenue will exceed $6Bn by 2020.
All this exciting news is the result of a huge amount of hard work by members, as reflected in Release 6, and in the progress reports provided by the Champions on each of the key work items for 2016. There is an enormous amount still to do, in areas of great significance to the whole mobile industry, from multi-operator platforms to 5G. The rewards of these efforts are clear from the market growth we are now seeing, and the buzz around the Small Cell Zone throughout the four days of MWC. So do get involved – we look forward to your ideas and input, and to seeing you all at the SCWS conferences in Singapore and London soon.