Mobile operators will spend more than $15 billion on small cells, carrier Wi-Fi, C-RAN (Centralized RAN) and DAS (Distributed Antenna System) networks in 2017, said SNS Research in its latest report on telecom industry.
Demand for in-building wireless coverage and need for investment in managing growth in mobile data traffic are the growth drivers.
SNS Research said conventional macrocells are not sufficient to handle the needs of today’s wireless subscribers. Telecom operators have more than 5 billion unique mobile subscribers at present.
The worldwide adoption of centimeter and millimeter wave spectrum, to support higher data rates in 5G networks, will prompt telecom operators to make investment in smaller cells.
The report said mobile operators are increasing their investments in Heterogeneous Network or HetNet infrastructure technologies such as small cells, carrier Wi-Fi and DAS networks to address growing capacity and coverage requirements.
Telecom operators are benefitting immensely by making huge investment in C-RAN architecture by sharing centralized baseband functionality across distributed radio nodes. C-RAN benefits include resource pooling, multi-cell coordination, network extensibility and energy efficiency.
The HetNet market will grow at a CAGR of over 18 percent between 2017 and 2020.
SNS research estimates that global spending on virtualized small cells will surpass $1 billion annually by 2020.
Unlicensed and shared spectrum small cells are beginning to gain traction, with shipment revenues reaching $240 million by the end of 2020.