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A quick update on Sprints small cell plans from the analyst meeting in Kansas City from Bob Azzi:

- First small cells will be deployed indoors. This is quite interesting as most operators I talked to see the first stage of small cell deployments to be mostly outdoors (and prefer to use Wi-Fi at indoor locations). But it does make sense as most of heavy data usage comes from indoor locations, so small cells can off-load this traffic from the macro network, increasing the capacity of the latter for voice and light data traffic. Also the interference potential is reduced with indoor small cells if the same spectrum channel is uses.


- Indoor cells: plan to use pico cells, rather than upgrading DAS to LTE, both for public venues and enterprise locations


- Eventually small cells will be deployed outdoors too (and Azzi showed Alcatel-Lucent LightRadio's cube as an example of what small cells will look like). Initially at least they will use the 1.9 GHz band, as there are currently no specific plans to use Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum for small cells. It would be an interesting arrangement for Sprint to partner with Clearwire to build a small-cell network in the 2.5 GHz band which is well suited for it because of the limited propagation. Furthermore Clearwire has sufficient spectrum to build a high-capacity small-cell network that does not interfere with the macro layer.


- There are plans to work with Clearwire in the 2.5 GHz band, but right now they are focused on increasing capacity in the macro layer.

 
 
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