Following the news that Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU) has launched the Metro Cell Express Site Certification Program, Daryl Schoolar, principal analyst at Ovum provides his view on this major initiative:
Alcatel’s just announced Metro Cell Express Certification program
“Mobile network operators want to provide better coverage to their customers through an affordable network investment. Metro small cells are a critical part of the plan, but mobile operators face challenges in how to actually deploy them in a timely, efficient, and profitable manner. Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU)’s just announced Metro Cell Express Certification program aims to make small cell deployments easier for mobile operators. The certification program provides mobile operators with a database of ALU qualified small cell site locations, system installers, and backhaul solutions.
“Obviously Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU) wants to sell more small cells, so anything it can do to accelerate small deployments is to its benefit. By making the process of deploying small cells easier and faster by identifying needed resources ALU should help accelerate the markets growth and give it a point of differentiation. This is the goal of the certification database. By ALU creating a resource where mobile operators can find resources needed for a small cell deployments mobile operators won’t have to go out and do this completely on their own. This should save time on when it comes to installing small cells. If the vendors in the database are able spread some of the cost of say backhaul or site rental among multiple operators, mobile operators might also see a cost savings as well. Ovum has yet to see any other small cell vendor, at least publicly, commit to easing small cell deployment challenges at the level of ALU and its certification program.
Small cells are key to Alcatel Lucent’s overall future success
“Of course the obstacle here for Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU) is scaling the program. As it was launched today, Cell Express Certification only gives access to 100,000 sites to operators in the US and Western Europe. This is a good start, but ALU will definitely need to add more geographic coverage and exponentially increase the number of sites. While being able to provide access to every site needed through the certification program is obviously unrealistic, Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU) must be able to cover a significant portion of the needed sites via its certification program for it to be successful. As Ovum has pointed out in past research, small cells are key to ALU’s overall future success and Metro Cell Express Certification is obviously something the vendor sees as key to its small cell success.”