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September 09, 2016

Do the Carriers Need an AirBNB for Small Cell Installations?

At CTIA this weekTeleworld Solutons garnered an E-Tech award for its website SmallCellSite.com.

I met with Bryan Goldberg, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Marketing & Business.

SmallCellSite..com maps the locations of willing partners to carriers for deployment of their antennas, it includes the ability to support LTE, WiFi and other alternative networks. 

Like AirBnB the idea is that network operators or their contractors can use the site to find locations for deployment.  Pricing for the rental of the space is clearly displayed and carriers can compare multiple locations that are nearby.

If the site can handle more than one antenna the first does not have to worry about interference.  If a second operator wants to place an antenna, they have the responsibility of causing no interference to first and any other preceding deployment.

Looking at the site, I went to areas I was familiar with and looked to see if the Not in My Backyard [NIMBY] dead locations were solved by this system.  At the present time the dead zones I know, do not have small cell site locations.  However, Bryan shared with me that they are projecting that they will have over a million locations in the next few years.

It’s possible that the reluctance to allow deployment is overcome by the willingness of locations to self identify.  In fact, it seems to me likely that this crowd sourcing of opportunity lends itself to rapid deployments and jurisdictions become more open to deployments.

As a former network planner, I appreciated the idea that I can look at what is available and figure out my best locations.  Having the ability to know what attachments are available beyond LTE makes the use of wireless for backhaul an alternative in case fiber routes are not available.

If you are network planning, I see this tool being valuable in the future.  If you are someone with rooftops, billboards and other useful locations, you should definitely list your assets here.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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