Small CellBetween 2015 and 2025 non-residential small cell deployments will grow at a CAGR of 36% and will reach 8.5 million deployed units. That would be 22 times the number of units deployed in 2015, according to a small cells forecast from the Small Cell Forum.

“This research shows the confidence and emphasis that operators around the world are placing on the technology, and we at the forum are actively collaborating with . . . them, the vendor community, and other industry associations to avoid fragmentation and accelerate the shift to true next-generation networks and the enhanced connectivity they will bring,” said David Orloff, Chair of Small Cell Forum.

Small Cells Forecast
The explosion of small cells is part of the network densification trend. It is necessary because of growing capacity demand and the technical requirements of 5G, which will largely rely on high-frequency spectrum bands that support comparatively limited reach. This requires the addition of a layer of small cells.

The research, which was done for SCF by Rethink Technology Research, found that 40% of operators expect to deploy 100 to 350 small cells per square kilometer (both indoors and outdoors) in areas they densify by 2020. Fifty-eight percent of responding companies expect to spend the first two to three years after the release of 5G New Radio focusing primarily on small cell technology. Enterprise deployment also is accelerating, with a 98% rise in deployments between 2015 and this year. Enterprise small cell will grow by 1600% in the full 2015-2025 term of the study.

The SCF also said that it has published Release 10, a collection of documents, presentations and videos that illustrate the organization’s vision for 5G.

An illustration of the growth of small cell deployment is Unite Private Networks. In October, President Jason Adkins described an expansion to Telecompetitor. The planned expansion will cover parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. It will expand UPN’s network in parts of the Des Moines, Dallas and Kansas City metros. Service will begin in Denton, Texas and Kansas City, KS.