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LTE: Alcatel Lucent and Sprint deal will speed Sprint LTE deployment

WorldWide Tech & Science. Francisco De Jesùs.

LTE: Alcatel Lucent and Sprint deal will speed Sprint LTE deployment.

Alcatel-Lucent's LightRadio gains traction as Sprint signs up for a substantial deployment. I.D. Scales reports.
Sprint is to deploy a substantial underlay of Alcatel Lucent's tiny LightRadio base stations as part of a complete revamp of its mobile network in the US.
Lots of interest and a slew of trials and commercial deployments have been ongoing since the company announced the tiny radio technology early last year, but this meaty order from the number three US mobile network will be seen as a major step forward for what Alcatel Lucent has been championing as a revolutionary new product set and micro base station approach. 
LightRadio is designed to enable operators to cope with rocketing mobile broadband demand by peppering hotspots with tiny and unobtrusive cells which can be made to support a heterogenous array of radio standards - Gs 2, 3 and 4 as well as WiFi. The technology uses a 'cloud' approach by separating out radio, antenna and processing functions and moving them about -  so that processing from muliple cells, for instance, might be aggregated at a processing point near the edge of the network.

This all helps to keep costs and power consumption down. 
Sprint is rolling out its new LTE network in the US and the LightRadio microcells are to perform an 'augmenting' role by providing dense coverage inside buildings and eventually in outside public areas - such as sports stadiums - where demand is high. This particular deployment will support LTE only. 
AlcaLu claims it has many more commercial deals in the pipeline (but can't talk about many of them). Telefonica, for instance, demonstrated indoor use of the tiny cells at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
News of Sprint's plans confirms the likely role the small cell option is going to play as operators build out their LTE networks. As more and more LTE devices are put in the hands of users the load on the macro network will increase but, as always with access networks, capacity problems happen at specific times and specific places (and these may change over time as the built environment in which they operate changes).
The underlay option means that small cells can be deployed on an as-needed basis in particular places (and perhaps only be active for a set time) enabling mobile operators to stay ahead of the demand curve with steady, incremental small cell investments, perhaps involving a range of radio standards (WiFi in particular) as demand increases. 


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