Operators are securing enterprise small cell contracts with promises of faster and more reliable connectivity. Putting those promises into practice requires close cooperation with vendors like Alcatel-Lucent and SpiderCloud Wireless, who discussed the challenges on a recent RCR Insights panel along with Peter Jarich of Current Analysis.
“Operators are brilliant at securing the contracts for those enterprise customers, or those indoor customers, but moving into actually deploying inside of the buildings is presenting itself to be the next big challenge for everybody to solve,” said Mike Schabel, VP for small cells at Alcatel-Lucent.
“You need to take care of the 3G, you need to take care of 4G, you need to take care of migrations from three to four for operators, and refarming their spectrum,” explained Schabel. “You have the challenge that LTE has every imaginable frequency that is possibly available, so from a product perspective it means that we have a lot of different product variance and operators have a lot of product variance to deal with. You have Wi-Fi in there that needs to be sorted and [you need to]make sure that the operators have a good, clean strategy on how they handle Wi-Fi indoors.”
From an enterprise perspective, all this may happen in the background. Often IT managers just want to know how much coverage they will get and when they will get it. The “when” question is especially important, according to SpiderCloud Wireless chief marketing officer Ronny Haraldsvik. He said that from SpiderCloud’s perspective, small cell deployments can happen very quickly, but the operator has to be on board.
“It can be deployed in weeks or even days. That type of approach takes a significant change in the internal process of the operator,” said Haraldsvik, adding that operators are already starting to change their approaches. “We’re seeing tremendous progress there,” he said.
Analyst Peter Jarich agreed that operators need to change their internal processes when it comes to enterprise customers.
“It takes a change in how they operate,” said Jarich. “I personally don’t believe that operators, as much as they think they know the enterprise, know the enterprise deeply enough.”
Of course many mobile service providers have served enterprise customers successfully for years, but small cell deployments may require them to devote more effort and resources to some customers.
“All the different vertical needs and all the different requirements in terms of deployments and operations and everything, I think it’s more complicated than they believe,” said Jarich. “They’re figuring that stuff out, but it does take time. I think that’s a big part of where I see some of the holdup taking place.”
Watch the full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY58eI-L9GI
Image courtesy of SpiderCloud Wireless