Why is DAS important?
It touches many different parts of the mobile network:
DAS can include Wi-Fi. When Active DAS is used with fiber connectivity, it's possible to build a Wi-Fi AP into each remote antenna unit, or simply put a Wi-Fi AP next to each remote antenna unit.
DAS is preferred by city government. When asking for city approval for construction permits, most DAS integrators are finding that cities have figured out the DAS game: They will approve your DAS system if you include their public safety systems for free.
Small Cells make great signal sources for DAS. As small cells with reasonable capacity become available, we see opportunities to replace the big cabinets normally used as a signal source. Why not use a smaller, cheaper small cell instead?
Outdoor DAS is quicker than towers. Outdoor DAS is actually growing faster than indoor DAS in the U.S. market, because LTE roll-out needs to happen quickly and new towers are not quick.
Mobile Operators are spending on DAS. Verizon will double their DAS budget between 2012 and 2014. Sprint will spend over $300 million on DAS this year. AT&T has been spending at that level for several years. In the USA, DAS is growing quickly.
The bottom line is that a big part of the world needs DAS. The industry has started with stadiums and airports. As we run out of stadiums to cover, we will be turning to convention centers, shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, college campuses, and other areas. Over time, Mobile Experts predicts that the cost of DAS equipment will come down, making the ROI more attractive for building owners, operators, and the neutral hosting companies. There may be only about 100 blockbuster stadiums in the world, but there are millions of buildings that fall into the other vertical markets.
It's difficult for mobile operators to address a million buildings with the internal resources they have. We expect the DAS ecosystem to provide the capital, the RF planning, and the installation technicians to make Carrier Wi-Fi and Small Cells a bigger success.