Alcatel-Lucent Takes the Lead in Small Cell Solutions

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Current Analysis Breaks Down Small Cell Vendor Landscape in Two-part Series

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“You’re beginning to see battle lines being drawn, but expect more changes and specialization as these products become available…” – Ed Gubbins

Current Analysis, the market leader in real-time, tactical competitive intelligence for the telecommunications and information technology markets, declared Alcatel-Lucent the most competitive vendor in the burgeoning market for small cell solutions.

Mobile equipment vendors have been talking about small cells for years, but the topic reached critical mass this year, as every major equipment vendor put their small cell solutions front and center and new solutions were unveiled. Current Analysis recently reviewed the small cell offerings of 10 equipment vendors, including the market’s top four RAN vendors (Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia Siemens), looking specifically at enclosed, metro-, micro-, and picocell LTE base stations (not including vendors focused on indoor-only femtocell products) and mapping out their strengths, weaknesses, and a range of other attributes. Alcatel-Lucent was judged to be the overall leader, competitive on multiple fronts, though not superior in every respect.

“As the small cell market has become a mainstream push for vendors, evaluating offerings has actually become more complex,” stated Tim Dowd, CEO of Current Analysis. “With new contenders joining the battle to win market share, we are expanding our coverage to look at not only the traditional RAN vendors, but also the dynamic, competitive landscape as new players enter the fray.”

In the first of the two reports, Ed Gubbins, Senior Analyst with the Service Provider Infrastructure practice, highlights the factors in play:

  • Vendors are already playing form-factor leapfrog, adapting previous designs in favor of smaller, lighter products in response to competitive pressures and with the understanding that small cells will need to be physically discrete and easy to deploy.
  • Though all major RAN vendors are now pushing small cells, not all of them are talking about specific ways to ease installation and deployment, allowing some vendors to distinguish themselves by touting aspects of product design that address this concern. Alcatel-Lucent, in particular, ‘gets points’ for recently unveiling a professional services offering targeted specifically at small cells.
  • Vendors trade off a number of advantages and disadvantages in various areas. For example, Huawei offers the smallest product (a clear benefit), but also the one that arrives latest to market (in Q4 2013, while some have had small cells on the market since 2011).

“The small cell opportunity is still in its early days, but it’s already becoming crowded with major incumbents and challengers, and differentiation on a product basis won’t be easy,” Gubbins said. “You’re beginning to see battle lines being drawn, but expect more changes and specialization as these products become available – particularly in the area of backhaul, which has, in many cases, been left an open question.”

For details on how the top four players were evaluated, download a complimentary copy of Ed Gubbins’ report, “Small Cell Vendor Landscape Breakdown: Part One – The Top Four,” by clicking here. To learn how to access the second report, “Small Cell Vendor Landscape Breakdown: Part Two – The Challengers,” and other related analysis, please contact us here.

About Current Analysis

Current Analysis ( has been helping leading telecommunications, information technology, and business software companies improve their competitive intelligence, differentiate themselves in the market, and win more business. Current Analysis is the only provider of real-time, in-depth tactical competitive intelligence, analysis, and advice. For more than 15 years, sales teams, product managers, marketing professionals, and executives have relied on Current Analysis as a trusted partner to improve their ability to anticipate and quickly take action on market opportunities and competitive threats. The company serves more than 35,000 professionals at over 1600 global enterprises.


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Amee Singh
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703 788 3644

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