Carrier Wi-Fi, Small Cells, and Mobile Offload Image

Carrier Wi-Fi, Small Cells, and Mobile Offload


This Competitive Assessment focuses on the Carrier Wi-Fi equipment vendor market. The majority of the total market in 2011 was accounted for by Cisco, Ruckus Wireless, and Ericsson/BelAir, however, as traditional mobile infrastructure vendors add Wi-Fi to their portfolios these early market share rankings will fluctuate. Carrier Wi-Fi is defined as Wi-Fi that is provided as a service to mobile carrier customers, owned and operated directly by the carrier or indirectly, for example through a third party hotspot provider. The Competitive Assessment includes a vendor matrix and market share for the overall Carrier Wi-Fi market equipment market. The rollout of Carrier Wi-Fi has been hampered up until now by the lack of standards which make the process seamless and transparent for the subscriber. With standardization initiatives well under way like Hotspot 2.0 and the almost universal inclusion of Wi-Fi in every smartphone, PC and tablet being built today, carrier controlled Wi-Fi is expected to see wide-scale adoption especially in markets like North America, Japan, and South Korea. Cisco tops the vendor matrix, followed by Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson. Ruckus comes out on top in the market share, followed by Cisco and then Ericsson. The companies included in this Competitive Assessment are Alcatel-Lucent, Aruba Networks, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Ruckus. Overview/Summary Out of the 6 companies we evaluated we ranked Cisco number 1 in our vendor matrix thanks to a prolific roadmap, actual Carrier Wi-Fi revenue and top R&D expenditure. Alcatel-Lucent, our number 2 choice, we believe has a better core integration roadmap than Cisco but was hampered by negligible revenue so far. Alcatel-Lucent’s score was also hindered by its R&D expenditure which does not scale to the levels of Cisco or Ericsson. The combination of Ericsson and BelAir Networks was our number 3 choice but we feel that we must wait and see how the BelAir portfolio integrates with Ericsson’s mobile core products. This acquisition has great potential but we will wait and see. We also felt that BelAir revenues were "US-centric." We ranked Ruckus as number 4 with a high implementation score thanks to large international carrier contracts where the company is the #1 in market share for Carrier Wi-Fi equipment today. Innovation also featured highly where the company employs patented carrier grade RF engineering in its APs for user QoS. NSN has potential but offers 2 systems - "FlexiZone" and "Smart WLAN Connectivity Solution." We believe to avoid confusion these 2 portfolios needs need to be rationalized. The company has negligible sales in Carrier Wi-Fi but the partnership with Ruckus has great potential. Aruba was an also ran, lacking any specific carrier Wi-Fi initiatives as far as we were able to determine.