Weak uptake in Indian telecom market slows down global BTS antenna shipments in 2010

The global BTS antenna market has declined by 16.3 percent in 2010, according to EJL Wireless Research.

Though the Indian telecom market added around 12-15 million mobile users in most of the months in 2010, wireless infrastructure revenue growth was hampered due to changes in telecom policies. Revenues of several telecom equipment vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks were affected due to government decision to curb telecom equipment imports to address security issues.

The decline in 2010 was partly due to the Indian telecom embargo and subsequent freezing of all wireless network deployments in mid 2010 within the country. The market continues to shift away from single band sectorized panel antennas to multi band antennas. As a result, multi-band antennas reached nearly 28 percent of the overall mix, compared with 10 percent in 2009,” said founder and president, Earl Lum, EJL Wireless Research.

The BTS antenna market will experience a three year growth cycle from 2011 through 2013 before declining in 2014.

However, the second half of 2011 will be weaker than the first half of 2011, due in part to a slow down for 3G and 4G deployments at AT&T Wireless and 3G deployments at T-Mobile USA in North America. This is a result of the pending merger between the two mobile operators.

Multi-band BTS antennas grew 128 percent year over year and are expected to increase by another 50 percent through 2013 as demands for reducing site costs are driving the adoption of this technology.

The emergence of the new 800MHz Digital Dividend spectrum in Europe and Asia Pacific as well the 2600MHz LTE spectrum is also driving demand for multi band antennas.

Remote electrical tilt (RET) enabled variable electrical tilt (VET) antennas continues to gain market acceptance and reached a penetration rate of 29 percent in 2010 and EJL expect that this segment will become the largest segment by 2012.

The introduction of active antenna solutions from Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks validates the concept that was spearheaded by antenna start-up Ubidyne.

China and India continued to be the largest BTS antenna markets in 2010 at a combined 18 percent, EJL forecasts that North America and Western Europe will have the strongest growth profiles through 2013.

India is likely to experience week demand for wireless infrastructure in 2011 as several operators are growing slow with 3G roll outs. Since most operators are not doing financially, 2G expansion plans are also progressing gradually.

Since the Indian government may decide to relax merger and acquisition guidelines for new telecom service providers such as Uninor, Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Videcocon Telecommunications and STel, their roll out of services is not in line with their earlier plans.

BWA operators will also delay their roll outs as many of them decide to opt for TD LTE technology instead WiMAX. The complete TD LTE eco-system will be ready after 12-18 months and this will affect the wireless market in India.

By Baburajan K
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