Small cell is considered a cost effective solution for operators with network coverage and capacity issues. However, the single-operator nature of small cell makes the solution less efficient especially for enterprise and venue deployments which tend to have multi-operator environments. For operator-initiated outdoor deployments, operators also struggle with site acquisition, regulations, backhaul, and power options for small cell. Neutral host solutions can facilitate deployments in many of these scenarios and provide cost reduction for both operators and enterprise end customers.
The term Neutral Host small cell can be used to describe a network operated by a single company where resources are being shared by multiple mobile network operators (MNOs) and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to achieve a multi-operator environment using different methods. The term can also refer to the special case of network sharing through the use of the same small cell equipment with the capability of hosting multiple RANs.
Many vendors and small cell related companies have introduced different models of neutral host small cell solution. The report provides an outlook on the solution development as well as examining the current drivers, deployment options and business cases, technical and business challenges, and potential market development and prospective players.