London needs 70,000 small cells for world-class mobile broadband

According to Doug Pulley, CTO of Picochip, for London to offer genuinely world-class, LTE everywhere mobile broadband, it will require the installation of 70,000 small cells across the capital, including 2,000 nodes covering the Underground network by 2015.

Dr Pulley presented the findings of his report at the Bath Basestation conference in Bath, UK earlier this week.

His report also concluded that there needs to be in excess of ten million small cells worldwide by end of 2015, in addition to residential femtocells.

Dr Pulley highlighted that with the Olympics just around the corner and the Mayor of London admitting that the networks will struggle to cope, the need for small cells to deliver added coverage and capacity is greater than ever. While Wi-Fi will offer some respite to the network, ultimately London’s population density means that small cells, deployed in the most congested areas, are the only way for the mobile networks to cope with the traffic, he said.

These small cells would be split between retail locations, from large shopping centers down to smaller coffee shops, enterprises including large office blocks, almost 12,000 ‘outdoor’ metropolitan small cells and 1,772 covering London underground stations and walkways.

Rupert Baines, VP of Marketing at Picochip, added that while 70,000 may sound like a lot, compared to the cost and complications associated with improving the network using big (macro) basestations, small cells offer a much easier, quicker and cheaper solution for network operators.

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