Small Cell Forum addresses market worth $163 billion with Release Five: Rural & Remote

  • Small Cell Forum announces Release Five and sets out a clear business case for operators, businesses and communities
  • Release Program now covers the full range of use cases
  • Announces new operator groups in MENA, Latin America and Asia

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 2 March 2015. Small Cell Forum today announced the launch of Release Five: Rural & Remote. The addition of Rural & Remote opens up a market of 650 million users worth an estimated $163 billion, and in completing this fifth body of work, the Release Program now gives a comprehensive commercial and technical case for small cells in any environment.

“With Release Five we have shown that there are an incredible range of ways small cells can benefit those in rural and remote areas, from delivering 3G or 4G coverage to towns and villages, helping in the aftermath of a natural disaster or providing coverage in some of the most challenging environments imaginable,” said Alan Law, Chair of Small Cell Forum.

“The fifth part of the Release Program means that all of the building blocks are in place for small cells in any environment. We are now focused on demonstrating the business and subscriber value of small cells to operators around the world, showing how the Release Program can provide the business and technical case they need. To help get this message out there the Forum is strengthening its existing Operator Group by establishing new regional operator groups covering Latin America, MENA and Asia.”

Release Five sets out how small cells can and are being used in an incredibly diverse range of scenarios including:

  • Reaching remote communities
  • Providing coverage to offshore platforms and ships
  • Delivering instant networks in the aftermath of a disaster
  • Adding value to businesses in rural communities
  • Enabling voice calls on aircraft
  • Providing reliable networks for emergency services

As part of its work on Release Five, Small Cell Forum commissioned independent experts Real Wireless to assess the business drivers for small cells in rural and remote environments. Real Wireless found that small cells could deliver affordable mobile broadband coverage to an extra 650 million users worldwide with GDP benefits close to $1 trillion or an estimated operator benefit of $163 billion.

“The Release Program has been incredibly successful since we started it back in 2013,” said Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum. “With over 80,000 downloads to date and interest from all the major operators, it’s clear that we deliver real value and help drive small cell deployments. Momentum is continuing to build, with interest not just from operators but also new entrants to the market. Much of this is driven by Small Cell Forum and its members and we’re incredibly grateful to those whose hard-work has made the Release Program what it is today.”

Release Five contains 16 new and updated documents ranging from case studies of small cells already used in a range of rural and remote settings, through to those covering backhaul, deployment challenges, architectures and the services that can be enabled by small cells.

Following the completion of Release Five, Small Cell Forum now turns its attention to the next set of carrier requirements and technical opportunities. A work-steam, started in the summer of 2014, is looking at the role of virtualization and its potential to enable even more small cell business models. Small Cell Forum is also setting up new work-streams including those looking at smarter SON & Wi-Fi integration, License Assisted Access, the relationship between small cells and M2M and the move towards 5G.

The Release Program documents are available to download from

About the Small Cell Forum (SCF)
Small Cell Forum works to accelerate small cell adoption to change the shape of mobile networks and maximize the potential of mobile services.

We are not a standards organization but partner with organizations that inform and determine standards development. We are a carrier-led organization. This means our operator members establish requirements that drive the activities and outputs of our technical groups.

Our track record speaks for itself: we have driven the standardization of key elements of small cell technology including Iuh,FAPI/SCAPI, SON, the small cell services API, TR‑069 evolution and the enhancement of the X2 interface.
At the time of writing, Small Cell Forum has more than 140 members, including 68 operators representing more than 3 billion mobile subscribers – 46 per cent of the global total – as well as telecoms hardware and software vendors, content providers and innovative start-ups.

Small Cell Forum Release Program
The Small Cell Forum Release Program has now established business cases and market drivers for all the main use cases, clarifying market needs and addressing barriers to deployment for residential, enterprise and urban small cells.
Small Cell Forum Release website can be found here:

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