Small Cell Forum Appoints AT&T’s Dr. Prabhakar Chitrapu as Chair


Forum is set to continue leadership in developing 5G Open Small Cell RAN, enable new stakeholders and opportunities in evolving mobile ecosystem, and develop Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to revolutionise small cell network rollouts.

Small Cell Forum (SCF), the telecoms organization making mobile infrastructure solutions available to all, has announced the appointment of Dr. Prabhakar Chitrapu as its new Chair, replacing outgoing Chair David Orloff. As a lead at AT&T’s Converged Access & Device Technology organization, Dr. Chitrapu brings a wealth of high-level technical and strategic leadership experience to the role, making him an ideal candidate to continue SCF’s critical work in 5G-era.

Unanimously approved at The Forum’s all-member London plenary, Dr. Chitrapu laid out an ambitious agenda for the year ahead, with emphasis on continuing the Forum’s critical work in 5G Open Small Cell RAN architectures, developing 5G-era small cell products, deploying them in virtualized cloud environments, enabling the development of multi-operator and neutral host deployments, monetising and solutioning edge computing opportunities, and the application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to all aspects of small cell network planning, deployment and operations.

Dr. Chitrapu has previously served as Chair of the Forum’s TECH & 5G Working Group, driving a number of work items spanning 5G-Era Use Cases, Edge Computing, Private LTE/5G, SON & Orchestration and leading the Forum’s highly successful 5G-RAN, Small Cell Architectures and Open Specifications work including FAPI and nFAPI. He has also spearheaded SCF’s collaborations and interactions across other industry forums, including; OAI, TIP, WBA, ORAN, ONAP, CBRS-A, ETSI-MEC.

New Small Cell Forum Chair, Dr. Prabhakar Chitrapu, said: “I am honoured and tremendously excited to be elected as Chair of Small Cell Forum at such a pivotal moment in the development of the 5G-era, in which small cells play such a central role. Having been involved in the Forum since 2010, I’ve been lucky enough to see first-hand how our commitment to collaboratively working as an industry has affected networks for the better. On behalf of, and together with, all of our members, I look forward to continuing our hard work and tradition of high quality, timely outputs to drive small cells forward.”

CEO of the Small Cell Forum, Sue Monahan, said: “David Orloff’s tenure as Chair has been a great success, and I would like to extend my thanks and that of the Forum’s membership for his hard work, excellent leadership and advocacy. Under his stewardship small cells have become an integral part of the discussion around dense networks needed to roll out 5G, and we have continued to set the industry’s agenda while providing critical technical output to develop more efficient, deployable and cost-effective networks. With much work still to do, Prabhakar is a natural choice to succeed David, with a keen technical mind and an exceptional work ethic.”

Small cells have made significant progress since David Orloff’s appointment in 2016, with huge technical achievements including the first blueprint for network virtualisation and the SCF’s 10-year vision in 2017.

The Forum has grown over the last 3 years to encompass an unprecedented level of engagement with both end-users – through programmes such as the Enterprise Advisory Council – and lawmakers, to ensure the applicability of what is being deployed, while advocating for the process to be efficient and expeditious. Orloff also oversaw vastly increased collaboration with other industry organisations, seeing the Forum take the lead in projects with partners such as GSMA, 5G Americas, ORAN and CBRS Alliance among others.