Is small-cell thinking changing the face of remote and rural coverage?

Brought to you by The Small Cell Group

A broadband experience for all regardless of geographic location is well established as a political mantra.

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About the event

As 700MHz spectrum comes onto the market, coverage and minimum data rate service conditions are being attached, and the band is being packaged as a Pioneer band for 5G.

However, pursuing coverage solution through the macro network architecture perpetuates existing and failing business models; fundamentally the economics are not changing.

For some time now innovations such as high altitude platforms, satellites, optimal clustering of small cell, neutral host, spectrum sharing have been trialled and are now delivering value in remote and rural deployments. What are the latest and maturing technology approaches and how are these approaches changing the economics?

You can follow @cambwireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWSmallCell.


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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking with lunch


Introduction to Small Cell SIG from Bob Driver, CW


Welcome from event host, Bozidar Radunovic, Researcher, Microsoft Research


Leveraging the public cloud to provide affordable wireless connectivity; Bozidar Radunovic, Researcher, Microsoft Research

Affordable internet connectivity is still a big challenge. Less than half of the world population has access to the internet. Even in developed countries such as the US and the UK, more than 15% of the population does not have broadband connection at home. A large part of the problem is that in some cases the network infrastructure is too expensive for big telcos to address all the needs at an affordable price. Recent popularity of dynamic spectrum access has opened up an opportunity for small telcos and community groups to serve some of these needs through wireless access. In some cases, such as CBRS, this means leveraging LTE cellular technology. However, even when spectrum is available, building a cellular network requires considerable expertise and expensive appliances. Today, we will discuss what it takes to create an affordable cellular core network as a service in a public cloud and the technical challenges of the current core architecture. We will also present a novel architecture that addresses these challenges and requires only minimal modifications to the existing small cells.




Self-installed small cells for rural communities - Nokia Kuha solution; Enrico Nigra Gattinotta, GS Solution Architect – UK, NOKIA

This session will look at rural and remote communities’ connectivity challenges and solutions. Enrico will present the Nokia proposal to a sustainable community-based network to close the gap between the availability of new mobile technologies and services in urban areas and their availability in the rural-remote ones.




Rural Small Cells – Really Making a Difference; Neil Winrow, Director, Product Management, Programmes & Projects, ip.access

• An insight from the TUCAN3G project, which studied both the technical and socio-economic elements of introducing telephony and data services in isolated rural areas of developing countries (Peru) – based on small cells for access network, and a combination of WiLD, WiMAX and VSAT for backhaul
• The impact those services made on the communities they served, how new business models and regulation stimulate change, and what could be replicated in other regions in the world
• Beyond TUCAN3G - What we learned, and how we would do things differently today




Refreshments and networking


Connecting the unconnected – a qualitative analysis of using small cells to extend coverage in rural and remote locations; Julie Bradford, Wireless Expert, Real Wireless

In many rural and remote locations worldwide, the high cost of traditional macrocells outweighs the small subscriber numbers they extend service too. The lower cost and more rapid deployment of small cells compared with macrocells promise to provide a better cost per subscriber and positive business case in rural areas. However, does this map to how populations are distributed in reality? This talk will review the business drivers for rural small cells and include an analysis of providing coverage to real population distributions worldwide and the potential extension to coverage that small cells could bring.




Small-Cell on an Aerial Platform; Ayan Ghosh, “Droneman”, EE

Ayan’s presentation will focus on EE-BT’s innovation on enhancing coverage using small cell on aerial
platforms - drones and Helikite. The various use cases of small-cell aerial platforms will be shared along
with the latest developments on this front.




Panel session with all speakers chaired by David Chambers, ThinkSmallCell


Event Closes


Julie Bradford - Head of techno-economic analysis, Real Wireless

Julie has worked in the wireless industry for over 15 years. At Real Wireless, she is a thought leader in 5G business case analysis including understanding 5G use cases, quantifying (in financial terms) the operational and socio-economic benefits of 5G services and understanding network dimensioning and cost implications under 5G virtualised networks.

She has most recently been working with city councils around their wireless strategy and related Green Book outline business case development. She also led Real Wireless’ techno-economic analysis on the EC Horizon 2020 5G-MoNArch project. Inspired by the project’s smart sea port testbed constructed by HPA, Nokia and DT in the Port of Hamburg, this analysis included quantifying the operational benefits of 5G to port authorities and other port users and the cost implications of delivering these industrial grade wireless services from existing mobile infrastructure via network slicing supported via the virtualised 5G-MoNArch network architecture.

Previously, Julie was Communications Engineer at QinetiQ UK, consultant at PA Consulting UK, and Senior Systems Engineer for Airvana UK. In addition to working at Real Wireless, Julie is a CW board member and champion for the CW Virtual Networks Special Interest Group (SIG).

Ayan Ghosh - Vice President Product Engineering, Arqit, Technical Advisor, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)

Ayan is the VP of Product Engineering at Arqit where he currently develops Arqit’s vision & capabilities in the Telecoms vertical serving Defence, CNI and commercial use cases.

He has spent the last 20 years in the Telecom industry designing, testing & deploying innovative solutions for vendors like Motorola & Nokia, operator like EE/BT and has provided consultancy services on emerging technologies to the Regulator- Ofcom and to the Ministry- DSIT.

After completing his BEng degree in IT and Masters in Computer Science from UMIST, Manchester, Ayan rolled out the first WiMAX network in the country. Over the years he has been involved in innovative wireless technologies for some of the most iconic stadiums, shopping malls and public buildings including Ascot racecourses, Wembley stadium & Heathrow Airport. Ayan tested and rolled out the first 4G network in the UK for EE and patented EE-BT’s Airmast solution involving drones & Helikites for which he received the Small Cell World Forum and MEC Award along with a nomination for the World Telecoms Award. Whilst at Ofcom, he worked on spectrum for UAV connectivity, private networks and supported the TSR & Diversification efforts.

Ayan has been championing the use of open architecture in Telecom networks from its very early days and was involved in shaping Government run competitions including the multi-award-winning project- Green Planet experience with Sir David Attenborough.

In his spare time, Ayan is a primary school Governor, plays cricket in the Gloucestershire League and coaches the U11s.

Enrico Nigra - Global Account Manager - Radio, Independent

Bozidar Radunovic - Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Neil Winrow - VP Operations, Mavenir

SIG Champions

Simon Fletcher - CEO, Real Wireless

Simon joined Real Wireless in January 2016 as Chief Technology Officer, taking overall technical and innovation strategy responsibility across the company. He is a member of the UK5G AB, co-chair of the International WG, and member of the Climate WG. His long-standing association with the UK innovation eco-system through roles such as Director of mVCE and the Innovate-UK ICT-KTN brings a wealth of practical knowledge on open innovation to accelerate product and services delivery. Simon spent his formative years in telecoms infrastructure systems and product development. In NEC Corporation he played a key role in the formation of Joint Ventures for development of 3G and 4G products and established a core team that developed the first-generation of technology for 4G systems culminating in a Steering Board position in the LTE SAE Trials Initiative (LSTI). In recent times he has directed projects on future cities, the application 5G and IoT in industry verticals with an event horizon towards 2030. His long participation in Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and then directing Real Wireless engagement in H2020 and the 2016 NIC study on Future Comms infrastructure brings great foresight on a range of architectural evolutions underway in 5G architectures, in particular for Open RAN and Diversification. He is a CW Small Cell SIG Champion, and in February 2022 the Small Cell Forum (SCF) appointed Simon as their Chief Strategy Officer, drawing on 25 years direct industry experience and work as an advisor to governments, regulators and big business.

Caroline Gabriel - Research Director, Analysys Mason, Co-founder and Research Director, Rethink Technology Research

Caroline has been engaged in technology analysis, research and consulting for 30 years and since 2002, has been focused entirely on mobile and wireless. As co-founder and research director of Rethink Technology Research, Caroline has developed a significant research base and forecast methodology, based around deep contacts with mobile and converged operators round the world. This addresses critical issues and trends in mobile and wireless infrastructure, and particularly operator deployment intentions for 4G, 5G, small cells, Cloud-RAN and other technologies. She is also a senior contributor to Analysys Mason’s Next Generation Wireless research programme. She has led research and consulting projects with a wide range of clients, including mobile infrastructure vendors, large and start-up operators, regulators, trade bodies, government agencies and financial institutions. Her advice and forecasts have helped inform strategic decisions at a wide range of vendors, operators, start-ups and finance houses. Prior to setting up Rethink, Caroline held various executive positions at VNU Business Publishing BV, then Europe’s largest producer of technology related B2B reports and publications. She was the European content and research director, and was a member of the leadership team for VNU’s online business. She holds an MA from the University of Oxford.

Vicky Messer - VP Product Management, Picocom

Vicky Messer is VP of Product Management at Picocom with over 25 years of experience in the wireless industry. Vicky joined Picocom over 4 years ago and leads Product Management, Technical Marketing and partnership activities. Vicky also leads the Picocom Small Cell Forum (SCF) activities and joined the board member at Small Cell Forum (SCF). In recognition leading in multiple work items and a published papers, Vicky was awarded the SCF ‘Outstanding Individual Contribution to SCF award’ in 2020.

Vicky is a certified IET registration mentor, and currently mentors a local young female engineer. In May 2023 Vicky joined Industrial Advisory Board Bath University Electronics and Electrical Engineering and also won a SCF Industry Award 2023 for Women in Wireless.

Neil Piercy - Founder, Independent

Neil has been developing base stations for various communications systems for over 30 years, during which time he has performed roles throughout the whole development lifecycle, as well as management roles. Neil joined the small cell specialist company, ip.access, when it was formed as a spin-off from TTP Com back in 2000, and stayed with the company for 23 years, during which time his roles varied from System Architect through to Head of Engineering. As a Systems Engineer covering software, hardware, and RF, he includes specialist areas such as security and networking, as well as a focus on all aspects of protocol design and implementation. He has analysed system performance and performed simulations across GSM, UMTS, LTE and NR small cell RAN equipment and systems. He is now a freelance telecoms Systems Engineering consultant.

Simon Saunders - Visiting Professor, King's College London

Prof. Simon Saunders is an independent advisor and researcher with deep industry and academic background in communication systems technology and a burgeoning interest in the intersection between real and artificial neural systems, communication systems and music. He is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, telecoms advisor to DCMS and Trustee of the charity Music for All.

Simon is a specialist in the technology of wireless communications, with a technical and commercial background derived from senior appointments in both industry (including Google, Motorola and Philips), academia (University of Surrey, Trinity College Dublin) and regulation (Ofcom).

He founded the Small Cell Forum and chaired this industry association from 2007-12, growing membership to 150 companies and working with 3GPP to create the first standards for small cells. He acted as Director of Emerging & Online Technology for Ofcom, leading Ofcom’s Emerging Technology programme and creating their Online Tech team. At Google (2015-20), he worked with operators globally to enhance wireless connectivity via a range of advanced technology initiatives, combining wireless networks, artificial intelligence and network virtualisation. As co-founder and Director of Technology for independent wireless strategy advisory firm Real Wireless (2006-15), he was responsible for overall technical capability and direction, providing independent wireless expertise and advice to operators, regulators, technology and law firms and wireless users. In 2019 Simon organised the world’s first 5G music lesson on behalf of charity Music for All, led by famous musician Jamie Cullum.

He is an author of over 150 articles, books and book chapters, including a popular textbook on antennas and propagation. He has invented over 15 patented wireless technologies and served on technical advisory boards of several companies and universities.

Event Location

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Location info

Microsoft Research Ltd, 21 Station Road, Cambridge, CB1 2FB

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