Qualcomm and Cisco Systems have started developing small cells customized for enterprises, which will be able to use the products to improve indoor wireless network coverage for their employees.
With more mobile applications and devices, enterprises are becoming increasingly dependent on good wireless coverage to be productive, in the office as well as on the road. A growing number of CIOs are investing in Wi-Fi networks to improve coverage, but at Mobile World Congress a number of vendors are also pitching cellular small cells to improve indoor performance.
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"The enterprise piece for us is the exciting target market we are going after," said Dan Rabinovitsj, senior vice president at Qualcomm.
To go after this market it has joined forces with Cisco, which is a good fit because of its large footprint in the enterprise sector, according to Rabinovitsj. Seventy percent of all mobile capacity is consumed indoors, he said.
Qualcomm and Cisco aren't ready to reveal any products.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm's competitor Texas Instruments also has enterprise small cells on its mind, and announced a partnership with small cell developer PureWave Networks.
Ericsson last year announced the Radio Dot System, a small cell that has an Ethernet port, weighs 300 grams and will start shipping later this year.
On Monday, the Swedish telecom vendor announced that operators Telstra, MTN and Swisscom will all trial the miniature base station. MTN plans to first test the Dot in public venues and corporate buildings across South Africa, while Swisscom also has the enterprise market in mind for its trials, it said.
Qualcomm is working with Alcatel-Lucent and ip.access on small cell products, as well.
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