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Sub-6 GHz Backhaul Becomes Operators’ Favorite by 2020 with Revenues Growing at 48%

London, United Kingdom - 29 Mar 2016

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The evolution toward 4.5G and 5G will be imminently accompanied by substantial network densification and massive deployments of small cells. The trend will completely transform the backhaul market and create tremendous opportunities for wireless backhaul links. ABI Research, the leader in transformative technology innovation market intelligence, forecasts that the market will deploy more than one million Sub-6 GHz licensed backhaul links by 2020.

As the fastest growing market segment, Sub-6 GHz will challenge microwave and millimeter waves for the largest market share of 35% in 2020. The combined wireless backhaul equipment revenues from Sub-6 GHz links and millimeter waves make up nearly 57% of the total backhaul revenue in 2020.

“Ultimately, operators’ network densification plans continue to grow in order to support demands for higher capacity in metro locations and extend coverage in to the rural and remote areas,” says Ahmed Ali, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “This accelerated growth will mandate higher capacity links, lower equipment cost, and easier network installation. The development will, in turn, drive further investments in the wireless backhaul market.”

Over the course of 2016, outdoor small cell rollouts will gain momentum. As Wi-Fi and distributed antenna systems (DAS) continue to advance and compete with small cells for the enterprise and in-building connectivity, their impact on the outdoor deployments is imminent.

“MNOs are also exploiting distributed network structures like Cloud-RAN (C-RAN) to cope with the explosive data traffic,” concludes Ali. “Such evolution in the access network technologies and structures dictates the availability of diverse, flexible and interoperable backhaul solutions.”

ABI Research suggests suppliers consider offering professional services, including high-resolution 3D mapping for backhaul link placement. They should also support multiple backhaul technologies and partner with Tangible Asset Monetization Companies (TAMCos), like advertising agencies, cable providers, and tower companies, to offer rights of way, and attach permits for small cell sites. Service providers, on the other hand, should look into leveraging network sharing schemes, unlicensed spectrum, and virtualization technologies in order to lower the cost of expanding backhaul and increase the overall ROI.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Fronthaul and Backhaul for Next Generation Networks Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.

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About ABI Research

For more than 25 years, ABI Research has stood at the forefront of technology market intelligence, partnering with innovative business leaders to implement informed, transformative technology decisions. The company employs a global team of senior analysts to provide comprehensive research and consulting services through deep quantitative forecasts, qualitative analyses and teardown services. An industry pioneer, ABI Research is proactive in its approach, frequently uncovering ground-breaking business cycles ahead of the curve and publishing research 18 to 36 months in advance of other organizations. In all, the company covers more than 60 services, spanning 11 technology sectors. For more information, visit www.abiresearch.com.