LTE’s Multi-Band and MIMO Requirements Pressure Mobile Telcos to Re-assess Antenna Vendor Relationships

21 Jan 2014

ABI Research estimates US$ 1.4 billion worth of LTE-capable antennas were shipped in 2013. This is equivalent to 1.89 million antennas with expected growth to 3.14 million in 2018. A large part of this growth in sales is being primed by the need for Multiple In, Multiple Out (MIMO) antennas which is a key ingredient to make LTE, and LTE-Advanced in particular, ultra-fast. Furthermore, the clamor for additional LTE spectrum bands is encouraging operators to invest for the long-term by selecting multi-band and ultrawide-band antennas. From 2014, the proportion of LTE-antennas shipped that will be multi-band will grow markedly, from 30% to 68% in 2018.

The mobile cellular network antenna has been the unsung hero of the mobile cellular revolution. “The spotlight is often cast onto the latest and greatest smartphones and LTE download speeds, which underpin the end-user’s mobile video streaming, Facebook account browsing, and/or WhatsApp instant messaging habits. And yet the mobile operator’s antenna is the lynchpin in the whole experience,” comments Jake Saunders, VP and mobile carrier strategy practice director.

Competition in the antenna segment has been heating up recently. Historically the sector has been dominated by Kathrein and CommScope (Andrew); however, Huawei has been methodically able to build up base station relationships with operators in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and Africa which include utilizing its own antennas.

ABI Research explores the key market trends, the essential criteria in LTE antenna design, and selection as well as a competitive assessment of the equipment vendors in the report, “LTE Antenna Design Shapes the Performance of Your Network.” These findings are part of the LTE, Macro Basestations, Tower Top RF Electronics, and Mobile Carrier Strategies Research Services.

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