Ericsson aims to raise the picocell bar with RBS 6402 launch

Infrastructure vendor Ericsson is the latest to unveil a new picocell initiative, with its latest launch featuring carrier aggregation and offering a 300Mbps LTE boost to smaller office buildings.

Picocells seem to be somewhat in vogue at the moment, with Nokia Networks starting the week by augmenting its Flexi Zone HetNet proposition only yesterday. Ericsson, however, reckons there are a few features of its new indoor picocell that set it apart, including a focus on small commercial buildings.

“This launch addresses the mobile broadband needs of the 10 million plus small commercial buildings worldwide, while making efficient use of finite spectrum resource,” Petter Blomberg of Ericsson told “These tend to be buildings under 5000 square meters and one picocell typically has a radius of around 1000 square meters, so you often need more than one for full coverage.”

Ericsson clearly sees improving the service to smaller businesses as an opportunity for its operator customers and is keen to differentiate its picocell offering from those of its competitors. “We estimate there will be a tenfold increase in mobile broadband demand between 2013 and 2019 and it’s important for operators that these smaller buildings have the same coverage and capacity as larger ones,” said Blomberg.

“These picocells use carrier aggregation to deliver up to 300 Mbps LTE speeds – the first on the market to do so. They support remote software activation of frequency bands and features which eliminates the need for site visits as the network evolves and the use of spectrum changes from 2G or 3G to LTE, and use of self-organizing network (SON) technology to enable plug-and-play installation in ten minutes.”

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Daryl Schoolar, Principal Analyst at, Ovum, insists small cells need to be coordinated to be most effective. “By deploying small cells as an almost separate network the mobile operator cannot fully leverage the overall network performance,” he said. “Ericsson has addressed this with its new small cell that offers feature parity and tight coordination with the macro cell. At the same time the RBS6402 is a very strong small cell product on its own, with a combined feature set I don’t see any other small cell offering at this time.”

HetNets – the use of a variety of cells and solutions to improve networks – have been a popular topic for some time as demand for mobile data goes exponential. As discussed in its June mobility report, Ericsson sees picocells as an important HetNet component and with the catchily-named RBS 6402 seems to be positioned to compete hard for that business.

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