Small Cells Healthy at 43% CAGR, but Outdoor DAS and Wi-Fi, Led by Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Nokia, Will Squeeze the Market

06 Apr 2015

​ABI Research’s latest forecast for outdoor small cells takes into account new market research and upholds its expectations for 2015 through 2020 to deliver a 43% CAGR. “While MNOs like Verizon, Vodafone, Telefnica, Softbank, SK Telecom, and Sprint forecast meaningful outdoor small cell deployments for 2015, outdoor DAS (oDAS) and Wi-Fi will cannibalize small cell shipments to some extent from 2017 onward,” says Nick Marshall, Networks Research Director at ABI Research.

“At the recent 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, LTE-U (LTE Unlicensed), LAA (License Assisted Access), LWA (LTE Wi-Fi Access), and Wi-Fi link aggregation announcements from companies including Nokia Networks, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Ruckus, and Qualcomm all served to demonstrate the importance and potential of Wi-Fi to form part of the toolkit for network densification,” adds Marshall.

The challenges of backhaul, power, permitting, and siting drive the rise of SCaaS (Small Cells as a Service) from OEMs such as Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Networks, and Ericsson and infrastructure owners such as Towerstream, Crown Castle, Cloudberry Mobile, and Virgin Media Business.These services ease small cells into deployment in 2015.

In 2015, 4G small cells are the fastest growing small cell type in the market driven by venue and dense urban deployments. ABI Research forecasts the number of LTE small cells to double in 2015 and by a similar factor each year with growth slowing due to the impact of oDAS and Wi-Fi. In 2020 the value of LTE small cells will represent almost 90% of the small cell equipment market.

The Asia-Pacific region, given its large size and 4G deployments in South Korea and Japan and the start of commercial TD-LTE operations in China and India, will grow to represent over 50% of the worldwide small cell equipment market by 2018.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Small Cells Market Research.

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