EE and O2 deploy multi-operator network using Huawei indoor small cells

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UK mobile operators including EE and O2 have demonstrated indoor network sharing using small cells, which partner Huawei said paved the way to enhanced 4G coverage.

Along with an unnamed third operator, the two MNOs used the Chinese vendor’s LampSite Sharing solution with Virtual 4T4R MIMO to provide multi-operator mobile broadband inside the ExCel London conference centre, where it held its Global Mobile Broadband Forum last week.

The set-up provided download speeds of up to 270MBps using a 20MHz chunk of spectrum.

Designed to be an upgrade to distributed antenna systems, LampSite comprises radio and baseband units to allow multiple operators to provide 2G, 3G, and 4G services as well as Wi-Fi and LAA. With software upgrades, it can also support LTE-A features.

The solution is designed for multi-mode deployment scenarios in medium-sized sites such as office buildings, venues and transportation hubs. According to Huawei, LampSite can reduce total cost of ownership for each carrier by up to 70 percent when shared by four operators.

Peng Honghua, President of Huawei’s Small Cell Product Line, said: “We look forward to helping operators and neutral hosts to more efficiently solve the problem of indoor coverage quickly with our indoor multi-operator sharing solution and bringing a high quality indoor [mobile broadband] experience to end users.”

In September, Huawei commercially launched a solution to help service providers monetise their indoor small cell deployments across the likes of stadiums, campuses, transportation hubs and residential areas.

2016 saw the volume of indoor small cell units surpass those of outdoor for the first time. Revenues from outdoor cells are expected to continue to be higher than ones within buildings.

Read more about the European small cell market in our April-May insight report.