All MNOs surely need a small cells strategy. 3G proved to be a false dawn for the day of the small cell. To a broad extent, MNOs have been able to mitigate capacity exhaustion in the 4G network by continuously investing in the macro layer. However, 5G will change all that.
The expected surge in demand for mobile network capacity, driven by video consumption, augmented/virtual reality and other new data hungry applications, is surely going to change how capacity in high density areas is managed. Small cells can become the capacity workhorses of the network, perhaps providing a more cost-effective approach to managing capacity within built-up areas and buildings with dense populations, such as sports stadia.
Is this a shift in thinking and approach? If so it is worth considering. While sharing infrastructure may not be to everyone’s taste, it is almost certainly the most cost-effective and efficient way forward. I think finding a sharing model that works (site assets, backhaul and even hardware) will determine the level of cost reductions that can be achieved while enabling MNOs to retain spectrum control.