Small Cell Forum Research Identifies Core 5G Indoor Enterprise Use Cases to Enable the Industrial Internet of Things

Technical and commercial paper provides a comprehensive study of 5G business models and focuses on challenges and opportunities, including the emergence of a new class of operator

London, UK – Thursday, 25th July 2019 Small Cell Forum (SCF), the telecoms organization making mobile infrastructure solutions available to all, has today published research describing the commercial and technical realities of deploying dense indoor 5G networks, which will be essential to support varied requirements, in particular for Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) networks. The paper details how a flexible network with ubiquitous coverage and low cost of deployment will be essential to fulfil the enterprise potential of 5G and drive new revenues for vertical industries and for their service providers – which may be mobile operators, neutral hosts or enterprise specialists.

As service providers contemplate not only the dizzying array of IoT use cases, but also the uncertainties at this early stage about business models and architecture choices, the SCF paper provides an invaluable starting point and a practical, business-focused blueprint to help members start on their IoT journey. It also helps stakeholders decide on their first priorities for addressing this new opportunity, and advocates a platform approach which will maximize the return on investment in IoT and enterprise small cells, and avoid technology or commercial dead ends.


The technical paper, 5G era IoT use cases and enterprise small cell (SCF 198), completes a three-part series addressing the three cornerstones of the 5G business model. Previously published research in the series focusses on enhanced mobile broadband (mmw 5G-eMBB use cases and small cell based hyperdense networks, SCF 197) and ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC and slicing in 5G small cell networks, SCF 199). Together the papers make up a compelling commercial and technical deployment map for dense 5G networks, covering the specific implications for small cells of the three main use case categories.


SCF198 is particularly focused on enterprise networks, particularly indoors, which will have to behave very differently from 3G or 4G systems if they are to support IoT applications effectively. These are challenging environments, involving huge numbers of devices, low power consumption, and a wide variety of network traffic patterns ranging from low bandwidth, low latency monitoring applications to machine-to-machine video.

“Small cells are the only way to support all the many connectivity requirements of different IoT services cost-effectively. They can be used to fill gaps and achieve true universal coverage, including indoors,” said David Orloff, Chair of Small Cell Forum. “Critically, they can provide hotspots of capacity where huge numbers of sensors and devices need to be supported in a small area, and their low power levels fit well with the low energy nature of many IoT use cases.”

More information on the Forum’s work on 5G business models can be found here:

About Small Cell Forum (SCF)
Small Cell Forum develops the technical and commercial enablers to accelerate small cell adoption and drive wide-scale densification.

Broad roll-out of small cells will make high-grade mobile connectivity accessible and affordable for industries, enterprises and for rural and urban communities. That, in turn, will drive new business opportunities for a widening ecosystem of service providers.

Those service providers are central to our work program. Our operator members establish the requirements that drive the activities and outputs of our technical groups.

We have driven the standardization of key elements of small cell technology including Iuh, FAPI, nFAPI, SON, services APIs, TR-069 evolution and the enhancement of the X2 interface. These specifications enable an open, multivendor platform and lower barriers to densification for all stakeholders.

Today our members are driving solutions that include

  • 5G APIs to support open RAN architectures, including MAC/PHY interfaces within small cells;
  • virtualization of the small cell layer;
  • enablers of multi-operator neutral host platforms, which will help accelerate deployment;
  • key technologies to support small cell integration into edge computing and IoT architectures.

The Small Cell Forum Release Program has now established business cases and market drivers for all the main use cases, clarifying market needs and addressing barriers to deployment for residential, enterprise, rural & remote, and urban small cells. The Small Cell Forum Release Program website can be found here:

Media Contact
Richard Howson
Temono for Small Cell Forum

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