The growth driver for the indoor small cell market will be the fact that telecom network operators are supporting for unlicensed spectrum technologies, including LTE-LAA and Wi-Fi.
Telecom network operators are making investment in unlicensed spectrum technologies because they are currently struggling to maintain cost-effective operations in the face of exponentially growing data demand.
“Unlicensed LTE had a rough start, meeting negative reactions to its possible conflict with Wi-Fi operations in the 5 GHz bands,” said Ahmed Ali, senior analyst at ABI Research. “But the ongoing standardization and coexistence efforts increased the support in the technology ecosystem.”
The 3GPP adopted a Listen-Before-Talk channel access mechanism for the LAA standard to share the spectrum fairly. The telecom analysis noted that IEEE and Wi-Fi Alliance are developing a testing process to help deliver a harmonized, multi-technology environment in the unlicensed spectrum.
In harmony with the adoption of unlicensed LTE solutions, Wi-Fi remains a well-established element of the indoor connectivity. The availability of multiple access technologies aligns well with the different enterprise requirements and will drive further convergence among these technologies in the years ahead, said ABI Research.
ABI Research said support for multi-operation features like 3G/4G and Wi-Fi/LAA access is necessary for the enterprise market.
Support for LTE-based and Wi-Fi unlicensed spectrum technologies within small cell equipment will grow to comprise 51 percent of total annual shipments by 2021 at a CAGR of 47 percent, said ABI Research in its forecast on small cell market.
Meanwhile, Dell’Oro Group said the mobile infrastructure market started 2016 in a slump with 4G down year-over-year in H1 2016 and 3G experiencing declines.
Total RAN market will decline 8 percent in 2016 and 2 to 3 percent in H1 2017.
With the exception of Nokia, revenue share positions were relatively stable in the first half of 2016. Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia were the top three vendors, accounting for more than 80 percent of the market