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Mass network densification for 5G – is the UK ready?

Brought to you by The Small Cell Group

The need for mass indoor small cell deployments to provide sufficient capacity has been overhyped for GSM, 3G and currently LTE networks, but has failed to materialise. Small cells seem to be growing in size and moving outside, while their numbers remain small, so what will make it different for 5G?

About the event

Already the UK spectrum auction for 3.4GHz has already been labelled as 5G by the press, while it again provides an increase in spectrum which can help delay the need to densify the networks, but at last ventures into spectrum which cannot provide indoor coverage from the macro network. The promise of even more spectrum but only at the higher GHz frequencies will surely make small cells required, but specification of their use and technology to cost-effectively deploy them seem to continually recede as focus is maintained on evolution of the LTE networks, so is there sufficient impetus to overcome the barriers of planning, logistics and operational costs of a dense small cell network in the near future?  

In the UK, the DCMS 5G Test Bed and Trials programme has provided £25m funding to promote 6 x  projects across the country, while the planned, larger scale, 5G Urban Connected Communities Project envisages holistic solutions to the design of networks, with a mix of technologies, which might include a “dense network of small cells” in dense demand areas.

As the buzz of 5G grows ever louder in our ears, what is the reality of 5G for small cell deployments in the UK?

This event is curated by the CW Small Cell Special Interest Group and delivered on behalf of UK5G.

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

On behalf of UK5G

UK5G is the new national innovation network dedicated to the promotion of research, collaboration and the commercial application of 5G in the UK.

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




Introduction to Small Cell SIG from Bob Driver, CEO, CW (Cambridge Wireless)


Welcome from Future Cities Catapult


Small cells for Urban Connected Communities? Trevor Gill, Telecommunications Consultant

What are the factors that have inhibited small cells in the past? Has their time come with 5G? If we need small cells, do we need to share them? How can the DCMS "Urban Connected Communities" project help us find solutions?


Speaker details to follow


Q & A


Speaker details to follow


Q & A




Laying the foundations for 5G deployment in the UK, Dr Matt Yardley, Analysys Mason

Heading off 5G deployment barriers, recommendations for industry and government. Analysys Mason will report on a study recently completed for Broadband Stakeholder Group.


Q & A


Paul Senior, CTO, Airspan


Q & A


Lunch and networking


Peter Love, Small Cells Principle Architect for Nokia Networks


Q & A


Speaker details to follow


Q & A


Panel session with all speakers


End of session followed by refreshments and networking


Event closes


Peter Love - Head of Network Optimisation, Nokia

Paul Senior - CTO, Airspan

Paul Senior (Airspan)

SIG Champions

David Chambers - Founder and Senior Analyst, ThinkSmallCell

David Chambers is Founder and Senior Analyst at, an independent website which has tracked the evolution of small cells from their early femtocell origins. With both an engineering and marketing background, and a career spanning product management and marketing for several large telecom vendors, he has gained insight and experience by meeting with mobile operators worldwide. Well known throughout the small cell industry, David writes articles, white papers and presents at conferences on all aspects of the subject. Based in a firm belief that the only technical solution to meet strong data demand is rapid deployment of large numbers of small cells, David continues to be a strong advocate of their adoption whilst pointing out their technical and commercial constraints.

Simon Fletcher - CTO, Real Wireless

Simon joined Real Wireless in January 2016 as Chief Technology Officer, taking overall technical and technical strategy responsibility across the company. He has chaired various conference committees including the Cambridge Wireless Annual International Conference and is recognised as a regular speaker at industry events. He is a Small Cell SIG Champion. 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 the past 20 years working 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 5G-NORMA, 5G-MoNArch and the 2016 NIC study on Future Comms infrastructure brings great foresight on a range of architectural evolutions underway in 5G architectures.

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Neil Piercy - Head of Research, ip.access

Neil has been developing base stations for various communications systems for over 25 years, during which time he has performed roles throughout the whole development lifecycle as well as management roles. He joined ip.access as a small cell System Architect when the company was in its infancy in 2000, and has since designed GSM, UMTS and LTE small cell RAN equipment and systems. His specialist areas include security and networking, as well as a focus on all aspects of protocol design and implementation, and on system performance and simulation. Now as Head of Research he is responsible for ip.access future products and technologies. He is an active member of the Small Cell Forum, a Champion for their work on the Virtualisation of small cells. He is currently a representative for the EU project SESAME on the 5GPPP Architecture group.

Simon Saunders - Access Technology Principal, Google

Simon is a specialist in the technology of wireless communications, with a technical and commercial background derived from senior appointments in both industry (including Philips and Motorola) and academia (University of Surrey). He is an adjunct professor at Trinity College Dublin and Access Technology Principal at Google. As co-founder and Director of Technology for independent wireless strategy advisory firm Real Wireless, 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. Customers included Ofcom, Cisco, European Commission, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Inmarsat and many others. He is an author of over 150 articles, books and book chapters. He has acted as a consultant to companies including BAA, BBC, O2, Ofcom, BT, ntl, Mitsubishi and British Land and was CTO of Red-M and CEO of Cellular Design Services Ltd and has acted as an expert witness in legal proceedings in England and the US. Simon speaks and chairs a wide range of international conferences and training courses and has invented over 15 patented wireless technologies. Particular expertise includes in-building wireless systems, radiowave propagation prediction, smart antenna design and mobile system analysis. He has served on technical advisory boards of several companies, was Visiting Professor to the University of Surrey, member of the industrial advisory board at University College London, founding chairman of Small Cell Forum (formerly Femto Forum), which he chaired from 2007-12 and a member of the Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board from 2007-14.

Event Location

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Location info

Future Cities Catapult, London, One Sekforde Street, London, EC1R 0BE

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