Telecommunications giant, Sprint (News - Alert), has just announced its plans to use microcells in its upcoming LTE network. Over the course of the next two years, the company has said it will debut thousands of maximum-capacity, pint-size hub stations across busy locations both inside and out, providing greater access to those leveraging headsets. Network and Engineering VP, Iyad Tarazi shared that the reason behind the implementation of the small cells is that the company is trying to attain a heterogeneous network (HetNet), according to this Gigaom report.



HetNet uses different types of technology for mobile communications. It consists of a combination of the current macrocell bases, Wi-Fi, as well as picocells, and femtocells. The emergence of HetNet plays a critical role in being able to accommodate the increasing number of consumers that are using their cell phones and headsets to not only access calls, but also all the different types of mobile applications available.Current network configuration upkeep is expensive, and it’s difficult to expand. 

Small cells are currently already used in busy areas like shopping centers but just to provide extra coverage. By 2014, however, these small cells may be the backbone of the mobile network in lieu of current towers. And, headsets will make communication easier for customers as Sprint seeks to broaden its coverage in these highly trafficked areas. 

Tarazi advised that the implementation of the new cells will take place over three stages. Stage one will ensue over the course of the next two years, and consists of the company doubling its number of femtocells, which will increase coverage across indoor locations. Stage two will roll out in 2013, and during this phase, the number of picocells will be drastically increased. Sprint plans to install picocells in 400 populous locations such as stadiums, airports, and conference arenas, making reception even clearer for those using headsets in zones known for interference. 

The third and final stage, which will finish in 2014, is the installation of cells into outdoor areas. The concentration will be on heavily populated areas, such as crowded downtowns of major cities where the masses are bustling about on foot.The end goal is for Sprint to be able to provide a multi-dimensional network that allows for better coverage in the areas that need it most. Because the implementation of micro-cells is relatively inexpensive, they are the obvious choice for bettering the network. 

While this move is significant, Sprint’s plans extend even further. Tarazi shared that the company would also like to build Wi-Fi and femtos into its mix. These will help Sprint gain the competitive edge it needs in developing its vast, new HetNet. Headsets will be a great tool to help customers access the new network. With smart features such as noise cancellation and wind protection, these headsets make it easy for the busy professionals residing in these areas to talk on the go.




Edited by Juliana Kenny