The growth of the small cell segment is seeing "no end in sight," especially with the presently ongoing 5G preparations, according to a new study published by market intelligence firm Mobile Experts. The company is forecasting the sector to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 21-percent over a six-year period ending 2023, noting that both network expansions and densification efforts around the world will be major contributors to the predicted trend. Mobile service providers in the United States are expected to play a particularly large role in the small cell industry boom due to their "aggressive" investment strategies, the firm noted. Whereas stateside carriers presently appear to be focusing on outdoor buildouts, small cell deployment is currently gaining traction in China, with both being financed as part of 5G commercialization efforts, as per the same source.
Besides growing at an unprecedented pace, the small cell market is also becoming more diversified as the wireless industry is moving toward implementing the fifth generation of mobile networks for consumer-ready use cases; with most network operators pursuing unique buildout plans, their infrastructural needs are also significantly different from one another, with their suppliers hence being incentivized to deliver custom-built solutions which ultimately make small cell variations grow in a dramatic manner, according to Principal Analyst Kyung Mun.
Small cells are generally seen as a key part of the 5G equation given how indispensable they are for enabling commercial applications of millimeter-wave spectrum frequencies. While such radio signals are capable of delivering latencies and capacities that are significantly higher than those provided by even the latest 4G LTE technologies, their nature makes them unsuitable for traveling over long distances as they have weak penetration capabilities and are prone to being absorbed by everything from rain to foliage. Small cells address this issue, being delivered in the form of shoebox-sized modules designed to relay signals over short distances that are relatively straightforward to install and maintain, at least from a technical standpoint, whereas the FCC is presently trying to remove some bureaucratic red tape surrounding their deployment in the U.S.