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Cloud-RAN becomes real, but not in China Mobile’s blueprint

While comprehensive Cloud-RAN deployments like the one envisaged by China Mobile are on a very distant horizon for most operators, there are increasing moves to use virtualization in at least some areas of the RAN, in order to increase efficiency and enable truly heterogeneous networks (HetNets). This is especially seen in small cell projects. Recent Rethink operator surveys indicated that, for two-thirds of MNOs planning virtualized RAN implementations in the next five years, the work would start with small cells. This is for several reasons. One, as operators embark on densification programs, the small cell layer can be deployed from scratch and so a new architecture is possible without having to risk disruption to the established LTE macro network –…

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