Neutral host technology requirements

Mobile operators work with equipment vendors to ensure infrastructure meets the needs of single operator public networks. Neutral host providers are much more interested in multi-operator boxes and many have particular interest in enterprise requirements.

Regulators are gradually supporting new business models from diverse service providers by extending shared spectrum, or earmarking airwaves for non-MNOs, enabling more companies to deploy cellular networks in order to support sectors and services with very specific needs, while complementing the wide area mobile broadband of the major operators. This is one of the most important areas of work for us in the coming year, because so many of the networks which will be rolled out to support the new enterprise or industrial 5G use cases will be based on small cells. Those use cases will often be used deep indoors, and by many thousands of users and sensors, which can only be cost-effectively reached by deploying small cells in every corner. This means better understanding the requirements of enterprises and neutral hosts alike.

Historically, mobile network operators selected RAN equipment and neutral host service providers employed RAN-agnostic DAS, or separate operator-selected small cells. New business models enabled by sharing initiatives – like CBRS in the US and JOTS in Europe – put RAN purchase within the control of neutral hosts, who have different requirements to MNOs.

This initiative looks at what neutral host providers expect from mobile infrastructure and how small cells need to evolve to meet those needs.