Colt Technology Services
Colt strives to transform the way the world works through the power of connectivity. The Colt IQ Network connects 900+ data centres across Europe, Asia and North America’s largest business hubs, with over 29,000 on net buildings and growing.
Your name and title:
Michael Ferris, Senior Architect, Mobile Connectivity Solutions
Q1. Your company is a member of Small Cell Forum, so what is your view on the future of small cells as 5G comes in?
We’ve believed for some time that small cells will feature as a workhorse for “full 5G”. The initial rollout is focused on lighting up population coverage with macros, as in previous generations. Even so, there are already some infill challenges which small cells can address. As customers transition to 5G and eMBB traffic grows, densification via small cells can’t be avoided just to keep up with demand, and both the indoor coverage challenge and private networking are very much small cell stories. Millimetre-wave has had a somewhat underwhelming impact so far, but the capacity and speeds that 5G ultimately promises will only come once millimetre-wave small cells are mainstream. Small cells will also play a part in realizing URLLC, with multi-layer coverage resilience and small cells coupled with edge compute to drive down latency for targeted applications.
Q2. How do you see the industry changing at the moment and what can the Forum do to address/improve/or enhance these changes?
The most obvious changes are the global push towards vendor diversification and, in turn, the disaggregation and open interface adoption that is enabling that move. The Forum is one of a number of organizations at the heart of that change and its definition of the Open6 interface is a key component. Another change is the emergence of new deployment models and the increasing role of neutral hosts. I’m personally very engaged in the current workstream to define neutral host requirements. The Forum has a role to play in influencing the market, regulators and operators to further develop this opportunity, because it is needed to realize the full 5G journey. In complex markets such as Europe and the US, operator deployments are only part of the answer. The Forum’s activities are becoming increasingly diverse as a result, and that’s a good thing.
Q3. In relation to your business, what are some the key technologies /or polices that are driving the industry (or parts of the industry) forward at the moment, and how can we progress further and faster?
Colt is an enterprise and wholesale connectivity specialist. We want to be at the heart of 5G network buildout in our metro footprint areas, and we embrace the new deployment models that allow a non-MNO player to deliver coverage and/or capacity for both public and private use cases, both indoor and outdoor. Entrusting part of your network service area to a third party is a big decision for operators. Creating a harmonized framework which neutral hosts can deploy across multiple markets will help to build the necessary economies of scale and establish credibility in the market. The Forum has created a great sounding board for the players in this new market and it’s great to see some noise being generated on the conference circuit and tech press as a result.