According to a recent report by Dimitris Mavrakis (pictured), principal analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media a survey shows that ".. 98% of mobile operator respondents believe small cells are essential for the future of their networks .. There are now 46 small-cell deployments by operators, including nine of the top 10 operators by revenue globally .. 55% of the mobile operator respondents are most interested in public access deployments over the next 12 months followed by enterprise rollouts with 35% of responses. Almost half (49%) of operators said their greatest concern surrounding outdoor metro deployments are the planning issues (e.g., finding suitable sites, power, etc), followed by backhaul challenges – cited by 35%".
"Almost all the survey respondents believe that LTE will be the biggest technology driver for small-cell deployments over the next five years although interest in LTE-A is growing. The survey also found that Wi-Fi was deemed to be complementary to small cells with deployments of both expected to take place in parallel".
See "98% of Mobile Operators Say Small Cells Essential for Future of Networks" - here.