ABI Research Expects Third Party/Neutral Hosts to Rule $9.5 Billion In-Building Wireless Market

13 Apr 2016

While carrier-led deployments account for more than 47% of in-building wireless deployments today and vendor-led deployments sit close to only 10%, third-party/neutral hosts control close to 43% of overall market deployment revenue and are set to grow that share to over 54% by 2020. ABI Research, the leader in transformative technology innovation market intelligence, anticipates that the industry will see a larger concentration of neutral hosts funding enterprise projects in the years ahead.

“Commercial property owners, such as real-estate companies or enterprises, are taking more responsibility for in-building wireless systems and provisioning their own buildings,” says Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research. “Subscribers and employees expect wireless coverage and capacity the same as they expect running water or electricity from a building. In-building wireless is increasingly viewed as business-critical and is becoming a major marketing tool for building and venue owners.”

As carriers transfer assets to neutral host companies, such as Crown Castle, carrier-led ownership will decline worldwide, with tower companies taking on the bulk of the in-building wireless business. ABI Research forecasts that carrier-led deployment share will drop to less than 29% by 2020, with third-party/neutral host share increasing to hold a majority share and venue-led to 17%. “Enterprises are funding more in-building wireless projects on their own, as they see the associated benefits, including increased employee productivity, customer satisfaction, and higher property and lease revenues,” continues Marshall.

Specifically in regards to a venue-led model, benefits to the enterprise include complete control of the Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network, the ability to customize the DAS network, and the rights to engage with a third-party/neutral host that will operate, manage, monitor, and repair the DAS network as needed. Challenges will occur however, and venues can expect to work to overcome several obstacles including capital constraints and limited resources.

“Since in-building wireless is often outside the core skillset of the venue’s IT staff, the venue will often engage with a third-party or system integrator to design, build, operate, and maintain the DAS,” concludes Marshall. “Ultimately, the requirements of the individual venue have a major influence on the final design of the system—whether it is carrier-led, third-party/neutral host-led, or venue-led.”

These findings are part of ABI Research’s In-Building Systems Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.

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