Press Release

Small Cell Forum, the telecoms organization driving network densification worldwide, has released its latest Market Status Report.

For the first time, SCF forecasts have been extended to 2025 to include the early phases of 5G deployment – and they confirm a major role for small cells in the rollout of 5G.

The report, available now at, confirms the continuing growth of small cells in non-residential scenarios – notably urban and enterprise sectors – and sees 5G, virtualization and densification playing a strong role in that growth. It also highlights the significance of ensuring simple, scalable and repeatable deployment processes. SCF is working with regulators globally to make this happen.

The SCF Market Status Report is based on operator surveys, modelling and forecasts. It contains graphs, statistics and analyses focusing on small cell deployments, drivers and barriers, both globally and regionally, from 2015-25.

Key findings include:
• The installed base of small cells to reach 70.2m in 2025.
• Densification initially led by APAC and North America, with Europe lagging as it works to address commercial, technical and regulatory barriers.
• Massive annual growth (36%) in the rate of new non-residential deployments of small cells, led by urban and enterprise small cells, between 2015 and 2025.
• 5G cell deployments overtaking 4G by 2024. The total installed base of 5G or multimode small cells in 2025 is predicted to be 13.1m, over one-third of the total in use.
• A stronger emphasis on virtualization, notably for 5G and multimode 4G/5G small cells. Virtualized systems will grow at a CAGR of 52% to reach 57% of the total in 2025.
• The vast majority of new deployments to be in dense or hyperdense environments by 2025.
• C-Band and high frequency bands to be the most important bands for 5G small cells.
• Strong support from operators for the deployment of 5G small cells as their 5G capacity layer where LTE remains the coverage layer.

The survey on which this report was based was conducted by Rethink Research for SCF. It is based on operator surveys, modelling and forecasts, completed between November 2017 and February 2018. A total of 105 operators’ deployment plans were surveyed or modelled.

David Orloff, Chair, Small Cell Forum, says: “In the run-up to the most important wireless event of the year, this report is a timely reminder of how networks must – and will – change and evolve in a very short time as 5G approaches. It also highlights the pivotal role of small cells in both the emerging 5G ecosystem and continuing LTE rollout. This will become increasingly central to wireless strategies as new spectrum and new revenue models drive densification.”

SCF will be at Mobile World Congress 2018, Hall 7, Stand L65.