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Date: 30-07-13

Alcatel Lucent and Qualcomm collaborate to develop small cell base stations

Alcatel Lucent and Qualcomm have agreed to collaborate in developing small cell base stations. Both have agreed to invest in a strategic R&D program to develop the next generation of Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio Small Cell products based on Qualcomm Technologies’ FSM9900 family of Small Cell silicon solutions. The investment would be shared by Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm Technologies.

The new trend in wireless communication is not just 3G, 4G and 5G, it's also about uninterrupted connection to the user irrespective of traffic congestion and location. Small cells not only relieve the user from congestion and not availability of networks, but also save the cost to both telecom service provider and the end-user. The trend is to enable a connection to the Internet for the user of the smartphones and tablets without any interface hindrances, small cells serve that purpose. Small cells are effective in shopping malls and other enterprise venues, where networking congestion is common.

Small cell base stations can be used with high-speed wired connections easily so any high-speed terminal can be converted into a cellular base station by plugging in this small cell base station equipment, which can be as small as 3G dongle.
The wired and wireless telecom equipment makers such as Alcatel Lucent are taking-on this market opportunity by collaborating with companies with complementing technologies. Alcatel Lucent's expertise in telecom networking and Qualcomm's silicon solutions is a good combination.

Commenting on the collaboration, Michel Combes, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent, said: “This initiative perfectly illustrates The Shift Plan we announced last month, which will see Alcatel-Lucent focus on growth technologies, including those facilitating ultra-broadband access. We also said we would actively seek collaboration with key industry players. In working together with Qualcomm Technologies - a world leader in advanced wireless platform solutions such as its small cell chipsets - Alcatel-Lucent will continue to be positioned at the forefront of innovation in the small cells market.”

“Small cells greatly increase capacity by bringing the network closer to the user, thus enabling operators to serve the anticipated 1000x growth in mobile data traffic and dramatically improving the experience for wireless subscribers,” said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “Working together with industry leaders like Alcatel-Lucent, we can accelerate the dense deployment of small cells globally, driving another significant leap in advanced wireless broadband technology and services.”

Both by growth in size small cell is a fast growing market, but is a well-known fact is the presence of huge competition among telecom equipment vendors to serve this interesting market. The speed, cost, geographic influence and more importantly collaboration with different stakeholders is key to success in this immediate opportunity.

Infonetics Research has estimated the global small cell market to grow from a very small base now to $2.7 billion by 2017. Small Cell Equipment includes 3G microcells, picocells, and public access femtocells and 4G LTE mini eNodeBs and public access femtocells. The 4G small cell shipments are anticipated to overtake 3G shipments by the end of 2013. Geographically, Infonetics expects Asia Pacific to lead the small cell market in 2013 with 50% of all units shipped, followed by EMEA with 34%, and North America with 14%.

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