If you can only make one event this year…

Small cells represent a range of different types of mobile infrastructure which are extending the reach and capabilities of today’s mobile networks.  Small cells are being deployed both outdoors and indoors, in public areas and on private property, by mobile operators, neutral hosts, system integrators and by building owners themselves.  Small cells are the means by which enterprise, industry and communities are joining the mobile economy and finding new ways to create value with mobile connectivity.

Small Cell Forum hosts this conference in order to move our industry forward. It provides a platform to share recent successes, recommend best practice as well as flagging barriers and what we need to do to address them.  Our 2019 summit report gives and idea of what to expect. 

The two-day agenda is based around the following eight sessions. Each will hear different perspectives on a common theme, followed by healthy panel debate and Q&A to conclude what is needed to move the industry forward.

Please note this agenda is subject to change.

09:00-10:30 – State of the Market 2019: Keynotes & Analyst Update

Small cells represent a versatile type of mobile infrastructure that can be deployed across a diverse set of use cases and by a number of different deployers. The arrival of 5G is raising awareness of their role in making mobile available as a resource for industry, enterprise and government – many of which are already possible with LTE today. At the same time, the mobile industry is currently defining the next generation technology platform that can serve these diverse needs with a small set of products which can be manufactured in high volumes, and deployed and operated at scale to achieve performance/cost point not addressed by Wi-Fi or bespoke wireless systems.

  • What the current state of the market for the different types of small cell deployment?
  • Which types of deployment are growing the fastest?
  • What are deployers main concerns looking ahead to the next few years?
  • What does the current deployer landscape look like – how is deployment currently split between MNOs, neutral hosts, private networks and end users.
  • How mature are 5G small cells in different regions.
  • Does the cellular industry have the right culture to work more closely with enterprise and industry?
  • How do we see Wi-Fi6 being positioned relative to 4G and 5G cellular networks?
  • What recent technology evolutions will we start seeing in commercial deployments in the next year?
  • Moderator: Julius Robson, Chief Strategy Officer, SCF

10.30-11.00 coffee break

11:00-13:00 Indoor Deployment and 5G

Whilst there is certainly demand for improved in-building coverage, private indoor spaces are challenging to cover both form a technology and physics perspective as well presenting more complex commercial arrangements between service providers, property owners and their tenants.

  • What progress is being made with 5G indoor deployment? How is this being commercialised?
  • How does 5G technologies impact indoor coverage? Does beamforming compensate for reduced penetration of mm wave?
  • How do we split the bill for indoor deployment? Is the enterprise willing to pay?
  • Who is the main decision maker for investment in an indoor systems the tenant or the owners?
  • What’s evidence supports an increased rental yield for landlords from investment in indoor coverage?

13.00-14.00 Networking Lunch

14:00-15:30 Policy, Local Authorities and Regulation

The 5G debate has been instrumental in clarifying regulation and policy changes needed to facilitate small cells deployment and their societal and economic benefits of connected society.

  • What progress has been made for spectrum, planning and code powers in the past year?
    What are local authorities’ experiences in implementing the policy framework?
  • Do we now have enough of the right spectrum, with sufficient ease of access for the right parties?
  • What can we learn from the CBRS shared spectrum experiment in the US? And Local 5G in Japan?
  • What are the reactions to the policy proposals for the EC light deployment regime? Is 10 watts enough power for an outdoor small cell? is 20-30L enough space? Is the UK likely to align with EC on this policy?
  • What has been the uptake on last year’s shared spectrum opportunity in the UK?
  • What areas of policy need further change to remove barriers for small cell deployment?

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

16:00-17:30 Neutral Hosting & Multi-Operator Shared Infrastructure

Neutral hosting was the hottest topic of SCWS19 and has been attracting significant investment. What has been achieved since then – are we nearly there yet? Are multi-operator small cells a commercial reality?

  • What’s the status of the Joint Operator Technical Specification groups work on Neutral Host In Building? Are specifications ready? When will commercial deployments be switched on?
  • Do we expect to see JOTS agreements sparking similar MNOs agreements outside the UK?
  • Does this represent a broader shift in mindset of MNOs globally?
  • In 2019 we saw tower Cos, DAS deployers, broadband companies and spectrum owners all moving into the Neutral Host space – how are these playing out? Who’s in the strongest position?
    DAS vs Small cells – have these now converged, or are there still important differences?
  • Is the current focus on indoor only, or are outdoor public small cells also being deployed? Are there synergies in serving both from a common platform?

19:30  SCF Small Cell Awards and Gala Dinner 2019

Please make sure you have purchased your ticket for this very special occasion.

09:00-10:50 5G Small Cell Products & Components Ecosystem

Small cells cost a fraction of macrocells because they are less complex and key components are manufactured in large volumes. As the industry commercialises 5G small cells, it must validate feature requirements and define necessary interfaces to ensure products meet deployers performance and price requirements.

  • What are the timescales for productising 5G components and small cells?
  • Will a 5G only product have a valid use case, or will the majority need to be 4G+5G?
  • What volume silicon and components will be needed to support a low-cost ecosystem?
  • Do disaggregation and mmWave change product architectures?
  • Will new fronthaul interfaces and non-MNO deployment change the ecosystem, or will the players remain the same?
  • Do we have sufficient understanding of typical product capabilities to build business cases and designing the transport infrastructure?

10:50-11:10 Coffee Break

11:10-13:00 Open RAN and Dis-aggregated Architectures

Technology trends towards cloud/fog computing, openness and virtualisation have driven the re-architecting of the mobile network in 5G, which means new interfaces and standards are being defined. At the same time, opensource and reference designs provide a new paradigm to complement traditional top-down standardisation as the mobile ecosystem expands.

  • What is the emerging consensus around how the functional-splits compare for cost vs performance?
  • Are different splits applicable to different deployment scenarios?
  • Which are most applicable to small cells?
  • Do indoor and outdoor scenarios require different architectures?
  • When is the three-box split a sensible choice?
  • What level of interoperability can we expect over the open fronthaul interfaces?
  • What’s the status or O-RAN specification work?

 13:00-14:00 Networking Lunch

14:00-15:30 Management, Automation & Orchestration with Analytics and AI

Ambitions for 5G to be both more sophisticated as well as deployed at scale in enterprise and industry verticals point to the need for pervasive automation to ensure network operation remains feasible and affordable.  Fortunately, this coincides with a maturing industry around artificial intelligence and machine learning which can be put to good use in solving complex optimisation problems presented by 5G Ere Dense Het Nets.

  • How can AI and machine learning be applied in mobile networks, what benefits can we expect?
  • What are the technology enablers needed to increase the extent of automation in mobile networks?
  • Do we need new interfaces and standards? What’s the progress of ONAP here – are there other options?
  • Do small cell present different challenges for management and automation, vs macro networks?
    Will these changes bring new players into the ecosystem?
  • What will management look like for the multiple stakeholders involved in private and neutrally hosted enterprise networks ?  Who gets visibility and control of what?

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

1600-17:30 Private Networks & Edge Computing

  • What are the most recent examples of private network deployment?
  • What’s the status of market adoption? Who are the biggest customers?
  • What is the killer app for a 5G for a private network? Which are the lead verticals?
  • What do customers most value in a private network? Reliability? Security? Data sovereignty?
  • What different flavours of hybrid private/public network are being tried?
  • Which deployers will dominate the private network market SIs, MNOs, NHs, DIY?
  • Is LTE the technology of choice for private networks today? When will private 5G be deployed?
  • How is spectrum impacting the rollout of private networks in different regions?
  • How do shared spectrum options like MulteFire and LAA compare to Wi-Fi 6?
  • Is the UK’s shared spectrum being utilised? Is it a match for CBRS?
  • What industry action is needed to enable private networks to grow faster?

17:00 Analyst debate and debrief

To wrap up the conference and pull-together different threads of the debate, we’ll hear from a section of leaders, analysts and press on the reoccurring themes, confirmed suspicions and surprises from the event.


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