Base station densification is increasingly used by network operators to provide better throughput and coverage performance to mobile subscribers in dense data traffic areas. Such densification is progressively diffusing the move from traditional macrocell base stations toward heterogeneous networks with diverse cell sizes (e.g., microcell, picocell, femotcell) and diverse radio access technologies (e.g., GSM, CDMA), and LTE). The coexistence of the different network entities brings an additional set of challenges, particularly in terms of the provisioning of high-speed communications and the management of wireless interference. Resource sharing between different entities, largely incompatible in conventional systems due to the lack of interconnections, becomes a necessity. By connecting all the base stations from different tiers to a central processor (referred to as the cloud) through wire/wireline backhaul links, the heterogeneous cloud radio access network, H-CRAN, provides an open, simple, controllable, and flexible paradigm for resource allocation. This article discusses challenges and recent developments in H-CRAN design. It proposes promising resource allocation schemes in H-CRAN: coordinated scheduling, hybrid backhauling, and multicloud association. Simulations results show how the proposed strategies provide appreciable performance improvement compared to methods from recent literature. © 2015 IEEE.