Network sharing makes sense in-building, not outdoors, says AT&T

Network sharing will become a standard tactic to establish dense in-building mobile coverage,
with private enterprises increasingly taking charge of network operations, said AT&T at SCWS
World in London. But outdoor coverage will remain the preserve of licensed cellular operators,
reluctant to share capacity or infrastructure for fear of losing their edge, it said.

During a keynote and panel session at SCWS World, David Orloff, director of RAN product at
AT&T, said certain features of newer LTE and 5G technologies – notably virtual RAN, virtual
EPS, and mobile edge computing, along with more permissive frequency bands – make network
sharing simpler for enterprises, neutral hosts, and mobile network operators (MNOs) of a certain

“We will see more non-MNOs take capacity away. Technology enhancements are making it easier –
for third party vendors, integrators, and enterprises to LTE in shared spectrum. How this works
together is where it really gets interesting, as we go forward,” said Orloff, speaking at the event
initially as chair of the Small Cells Forum.

“MNOs still have an opportunity, even if it’s not the classic MNO, but a disruptor MNO. We are
seeing more and more disruptors,” he said. Cases of 5G network sharing are emerging variously,
across the globe, notably in patches in India, South Korea and China, as well as via the CBRS band
in the US.

“I’m surprised there aren’t more disruptors coming into play,” he said.


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