Verizon facing small cell 'deployment difficulties,' but forging ahead aggressively

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) is having difficulty deploying small cells in urban areas because of backhaul and site acquisition challenges, according to Wells Fargo analyst J. Davis Hebert.

Nevertheless, Verizon continues to rapidly deploy small cells. The carrier has 134 small cells in place in Chicago and has a two-year plan to double this small cell coverage, Verizon Midwest President Brian Pascoe told the Chicago Sun-Times. The city's small cells are generally being placed on light poles, power poles and traffic light structures.

Verizon recently deployed 12 small cell structures in Grant Park, a major park in downtown Chicago, in an effort to boost coverage ahead of the Lollapalooza music festival.

In addition, the company also deployed 60 small cells in Cincinnati, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The company plans to deploy a total of 115 in the city. Verizon has also deployed DAS systems in the Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium.

The Valley Breeze, a Rhode Island newspaper, recently reported that Verizon now has 120 small cells in Rhode Island and hundreds around New England.

In addition, the company also plans to install 400 small cells this year in San Francisco. In an interview with FierceInstaller, San Francisco wireless planner Omar Masry said that 320 steel poles owned by the city were likely to be used in Verizon's small cell network, with roughly one-fourth of these in the area south of Market Street and three-fourths in northeastern parts of the city, including the financial district.

Poles from other entities, such as Pacific Gas & Electric, would be used for the other 80 or so poles, Masry said. He indicated that while Verizon would largely be using ExteNet Systems in the Northeast, the company would deploy some small cells on its own but use ExteNet fiber for the backhaul.

Verizon also has a substantial small cell presence in a number of other markets. Among these are Seattle, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Cleveland and Detroit.

For more:
- see this San Francisco planning document for details on the deployment in San Francisco
- see this Sun-Times Media Wire report
- see this article from Rhode Island's The Valley Breeze

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