Small Cells Dominated Verizon's 2017 Wireless Deployments

Small cells are already dominating Verizon's wireless deployment efforts, having accounted for 62-percent of all of its 2017 installations, the largest mobile service provider in the United States revealed in a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission. The New York City-based telecom giant is expecting its focus on small cell stations to continue growing going forward, primarily due to the advent of 5G. Verizon deems small cells a crucial component of its long-term wireless ambitions, having asserted such stations are meant to be the backbone of its plan to meet the growing demand for data on the part of both consumers and enterprises.

The percentage cited by Verizon doesn't just include individual small cell stations but also wireless facilities equipped with such solutions, as well as 5G base station equipment and distributed antenna nodes, according to the company's latest filing. The firm hasn't attached a specific unit figure to its 2017 wireless deployment claims, though the number of its new small cell stations installed over the course of the last year may be in the tens of thousands, according to some estimates. Verizon isn't the only telecom in the country that's counting on small cells to drive its 5G efforts as virtually anyone except for T-Mobile is pursuing the same infrastructural strategy, even though the four largest national carriers in the country are prioritizing different 5G services. In Verizon's case, the company is adamant to introduce 5G connectivity via a fixed wireless access solution it's looking to commercialize in select cities in the second half of the year, using network equipment provided by Samsung.

A 5G FWA solution won't just provide Verizon with some early return on its massive infrastructural investments but is simultaneously allowing the company to densify its network in preparation for the rollout of a "real," truly wireless 5G service that's presently planned to begin in early 2019, some industry analysts previously said. Verizon and its rivals are still lobbying against small cell red tape that's preventing them from installing their portable stations in a more affordable manner, with the FCC and Capitol Hill still looking into their complaints.

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Dominik Bosnjak

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]