SCWS World in London, celebrating its tenth anniversary, is a highlight of the sector’s calendar, and this year, there was a particular mood of optimism and excitement. Many operators from round the world took the stage to discuss their plans for densification and in-building networks, highlighting the fact that small cells are achieving significant scale as they become a default element of many carriers’ 4G plans.
In a pre-conference workshop held by Small Cell Forum, more than a dozen companies presented their real world deployments, covering a huge range of service models and locations.
Small cells are at the heart of the biggest trends, from HetNet to Mobile Edge Computing, from Cloud-RAN to 5G, and all these themes were to the fore in London. The Forum’s chair, Alan Law, used his keynote to outline this broad HetNet roadmap and the road to ‘multi-x’ networks. In particular, he highlighted the specific opportunities which exist in many key regions, such as India, Latin America and the Middle East – and what needs to be done to capitalize on these.
Those actions are operational and regulatory as well as technical, and all those aspects are represented in the Forum’s latest Release – HetNet and SON Foundations – which was launched at the show. This Release, and its companion, to be published in June, provide operators with a handbook to ease deployment now and help lay the foundations for 5G.
And the event saw the annual highlight of the industry, the Small Cell Forum Awards, an exciting ceremony at which companies were recognized for exceptional innovation and/or commercial success. Beyond the prizes and champagne, many of the shortlisted entries are important for identifying the priorities for this industry, and helping to shape the next steps in the Forum’s work.