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SCWS 2019: small cells in focus

The recent Small Cells World Summit shone a spotlight on the challenges and opportunities ahead for a rapidly evolving industry. Sam Fenwick reports

One of the key messages from the Small Cells World Summit, which took place on 21-22 May in London, was the stark difference between the pace at which the underlying technology is being developed and the current speed at which it can be deployed at scale. While the vendor community was there in force, emphasising the innovation that has gone into its latest wares, Gavin Jones, MD mobile operator, media and broadcast divisions at BT Wholesale, (pictured above) highlighted the “gap between expectation and delivery”, noting that this year his division’s fastest deployment of small cells was 22 days, its average was 52 and its slowest was 140 days (up from 90 last year).

“This is really tricky work – councils, power, roadworks… access to concessions [and] assets [all make] this incredibly difficult. The gritty reality [is] that the technology is brilliant, but the reality of deploying [small cells] in the thousands [to meet the demand that 5G is going to create] is going to be really tough, so we are definitely going to have to change the way we operate [and] improve.”

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