Telecom Lead Asia: BelAir Networks (Ericsson), Cisco, and
Ruckus Wireless account for more than two-thirds of 2011 carrier Wi-Fi
equipment revenue in 2011.
Revenue for carrier Wi-Fi equipment — including mobile
Wi-Fi access points, Wi-Fi hotspot access points, and Wi-Fi hotspot controllers
— grew 35 percent in 2011 from 2010.
Mobile Wi-Fi access points are expected to experience
compound annual growth rate of 86 percent through 2016 as mobile operators seek
a closer integration of Wi-Fi with the mobile network.
Infonetics forecasts the global carrier Wi-Fi equipment
market to grow in the high double-digit percents annually at least through
2016, when it will hit $2.1 billion.
New players will enter the market, disrupting early
market share standings, and, with growing demand for Wi-Fi integrated base
stations from mobile operators, carrier Wi-Fi market share could shift toward
the mobile infrastructure vendors.
The carrier Wi-Fi equipment market has grown since 2007,
initially driven by demand from mobile operators expanding their 3G and 4G
deployments with Wi-Fi hotspot services. The new growth driver is mobile
operators deploying carrier Wi-Fi to offload a portion of their mobile data
Additionally, fixed-line operators and ISPs continue to
deploy Wi-Fi to extend Wi-Fi hotspot services, cable and DSL operators use
Wi-Fi as an enhancement for their broadband services, and many operators will
be upgrading their existing access points to new Wi-Fi standards, such as the
forthcoming 802.11ac protocol.
“Our many recent conversations with mobile operators
and equipment vendors validate our view that mobile operators are hot for
hotspots,” said Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload,
and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics Research.