The Curious Case of Small Cells/HetNets

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First a brief history of time… (props to Stephen Hawking)

I remember the curiosity and excitement for the future I had when I first went hands on with the mobile wireless data freedom that IBM field technicians had back (first recognizable outside IBM as the Advanced Radio Data Information System [ARDIS] 800MHz 2 way network) in the 1990’s. It was cool to me that the precursor device to the RIM/Blackberry, a small black keyboard with a simple display, allowed such real time information retrieval from the field. ARDIS was an interesting thrifty technology that relied upon retransmissions to ensure data throughput since the overall 800MHz network was limited in footprint. Special features like macro diversity and so on gave it amazing in building performance all things being equal. In the cellular world, the bag phone was about to give way to devices like the Motorola DynPJ-BG188_WORKFA_G_20120327182717aTAC 8000X (brick phone) just so you know where the rest of us stood.

At another interesting point, I was demonstrating revolutionary Short Message Service SMS(text messages) as this new amazing thing that came with the Global System of Mobile (GSM) communications networks. Carriers didn’t come running. They liked the exploding voice revenue and SMS was seen to them as lost in the noise of the balance sheet. A couple of guys like Eric Ensor, former President of BellSouth PCS shared my excitement but it was a long time until, well, the rise then the fall of SMS to the WhatsApp level of appreciation by the market.

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