Richard Webb, research director, mobile backhaul and small cells, IHS Technology, says the size of the outdoor small cell backhaul market will be $2.2 billion in 2020, with a five-year (2016–2020) compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 80 percent.
The number of outdoor small cell backhaul connections will be increasing to 878,000 in 2020 from 42,600 in 2015.
Outdoor small cell deployments will grow significantly over the next several years, driven mostly by mobile operators’ need to enhance saturated macrocellular networks and improve the mobile broadband experience by adding capacity through dense low power node deployments.
Telecom network operators are currently testing and field trialing many outdoor small cell and backhaul options in dense urban areas to select technologies, products and vendors, as well as to develop operational procedures.
Though telecoms have invested in the deployments of outdoor small cells in urban and metro areas, some operators are investing in the rural segment. Vodafone and other operators are using small cells for outdoor coverage in rural areas, where the backhaul is not difficult and usually wireline.
Telecoms will be spending a cumulative $6.4 billion on outdoor small cell backhaul equipment between 2016 and 2020.
The size of the outdoor small cell backhaul equipment market was $117 million in 2015.Wireless (microwave) solutions account for the bulk of small cell backhaul revenue.
Of the individual technologies, point-to-point (P2P) microwave and Ethernet fiber were the small cell backhaul revenue leaders in 2015.