There are primarily three business models that operate in the in-building wireless segment: third-party/neutral-host, carrier-led, and venue led. Today third-party/neutral hosts control around 43% of in-building deployment revenue, which is made up of DAS and repeater solutions installation and equipment, and excludes the RF signal source. As carriers exit the “tower business” and transfer those assets to neutral host companies the carrier-led ownership model will decline worldwide as these tower companies take ownership of the in-building wireless business.
Third Party/Neutral hosts and carriers are seen to be funding deployments today, but, going forward, with many of the large tower-company neutral-host vendors being cash rich in all regions, ABI Research expects them to accelerate deployments of in-building venues within verticals outside the traditional airports, stadiums, and hospitality. The enterprise segment, especially of multitenant office buildings, is one within which we see a larger concentration of neutral hosts than carriers funding projects, particularly for the larger corporate projects.
This means that commercial property owners are taking more responsibility for the in-building wireless systems and provisioning their own buildings since in-building wireless is now viewed as a utility. Consumers and employees expect wireless coverage and capacity much like they expect 24/7 running water or electricity. In-building wireless is increasingly viewed as business-critical and will become a major marketing tool for building and venue owners.