Mobile operators say that the cost of rolling out small cells is currently around five times too high, Amdocs revealed this week as it presented a new solution designed to speed up small cell deployment and cut costs.
Network operators are working towards the rollout of significant numbers of small cells. "Some of the big operators are looking at hundreds of thousands a year," Phil Bull, product marketing manager at Amdocs told Total Telecom at Broadband World Forum on Tuesday.
But existing planning tools are not up to the job, he warned. "They lack automation."
As it stands, designing and rolling out the backhaul for small cells can take weeks, but operators need to reduce this to just a few days or even a single day, he said. "It's a complicated challenge to do it manually."
Amdocs offers an inventory-centric solution that can help operators automatically generate a network design that reduces both cost and complexity. It also leverages Amdocs' analytics capabilities to help operators decide where they need to deploy small cells, based on the location and experience of their highest-paying customers, and enables them to reduce people costs by making it possible for non-skilled workers to carry out small cell installations.
"[Telcos can] utilise low-cost field workers with guided field force tasks," said Bull. "They don't need to be telecom engineers."
"[The solution] is being rolled out now," Bull said. Amdocs is working with pilot customers in North America, where the small cells market is more advanced than in many other markets.
However, "there is a lot of interest in it across the world," said Bull.