5G will be “significantly impacted” without clear HetNets regulation, says Small Cell Forum

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Small Cell Forum (SCF) has said 5G rollout will be “significantly impacted” if a clearer global regulatory framework for heterogeneous networks (HetNets) is not imposed in short order.

It has called upon industry regulators to rapidly help establish a more varied 5G infrastructure, by setting out a consistent and supportive global framework for HetNets, which provide a diverse mix of radio access technologies to bring deeper wireless coverage, including with usage of small cells.

SCF is making the case to national governments about the societal and commercial benefits of enhanced connectivity to drive their support for its regulation and deployment.   

It is currently preparing responses to the UK Digital Economy Bill, and closely following the review of the European telecom framework, the Electronic Communication Code that contains regulatory proposals around the deployment of small cells.

It is also developing guidelines for states, regulators and municipalities in North America in collaboration with 5G Americas, and in Latin America with the GSMA, as well as through leading carriers in the Middle East and Asia.

David Orloff, Chair of Small Cell Forum, said: “While the air interface continues to dominate industry discussion, the biggest challenges in rolling out the dense networks associated with 5G lie in the underlying network architecture and fragmented and outdated national regulatory frameworks.

“We are actively engaged in defining operator and vendor priorities for bringing interoperability and consistency to the enabling technologies that will be the foundations for 5G networks. At the same time, it is critical that the industry works in conjunction with regulatory bodies to create an environment in which these networks can be swiftly and cost-effectively deployed.”

SCF warned earlier this month fragmentation is the “biggest risk” to 5G becoming a success, as it launched its first workshop to examine what role the technology will play in future networks.

It said in May HetNets and self-optimising networks (SON) will be at the heart of small cell deployments in the coming years. Its Release 7 publication deals with concerns about the technology, deployment and regulatory issues around HetNets and SON.