"We believe that its most efficient to add small cells in very specific areas, such as stadiums or large indoor shopping malls ... What we don't recommend is deploying small cells in an uncoordinated way," Tolstoy said.
By coordinating the roll-out of small-cell coverage, capacity improvements will be bigger. With a so-called combined cell, which is also part of LTE-Advanced, the same spectrum can be used for base stations and small cells without interference ruining the performance. That will also be demoed at Mobile World Congress.
One thing Ericsson didn't talk about during its London event on Wednesday was its products and plans for using Wi-Fi to help offload cellular networks.
While data communications is rightfully getting a growing amount of attention, telephony is still the biggest revenue generator for mobile operators. At this year's Mobile World Congress, VoLTE (Voice over LTE) is expected to be one of the big trends, as operators are getting ready to launch commercial services.
"What we will show this year in Barcelona is the maturity of VoLTE," said Magnus Furustam, vice president and head of Ericsson's Core and IMS product area.
That includes the world's first LTE-FDD (Frequency-Division Duplex) to LTE-TDD (Time-Division Duplex) voice call with China Mobile, ST-Ericsson and device partner Renesas Mobile. LTE-TDD uses one channel for both upload and download traffic, compared to LTE FDD, which uses separate channels for download and upload traffic.
As of early January, 13 commercial LTE-TDD networks have been launched in countries such as Australia, Brazil, India, Russia and the U.K. That compares to more than 10 times as many networks based on the FDD version on LTE, according to industry organization GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association).
Three in Sweden and Aero2 in Poland already use both versions in their networks. That is also what U.S. operator Sprint would be able to do if its acquisition of Clearwire is approved. Operators in China and India are also planning to use a combination, according to Ericsson.
"It is important for us to show that we can have a seamless service between these two variants," Tolstoy said.
Mobile World Congress takes place from Feb. 25 to Feb. 28.
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