The worldwide small cell market report from IHS Markit said the large scale deployment by Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio has fuelled the growth in the global small cell market. Reliance Jio is the largest 4G operator in India with 168 million 4G subscribers.
The small cell market benefitted from 4×4 MIMO and 256QAM upgrades on existing small cells, as new products that support these features are more expensive.
Richard Webb, associate director, mobile backhaul and small cells research at IHS Markit, said the enterprise segment is strongly fuelling indoor small cells unit shipments, which are far greater than outdoor small cell rollouts.
IHS Markit forecasts that the small cell market will grow to hit $2.8 billion in 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6 percent over the five years from 2017 to 2022.
The small cell market report said volume of indoor units will continue to increase above that of outdoor out to 2022.
Stephane Teral, executive director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics research at IHS Markit, said outdoor revenue will be higher because outdoor small cells are significantly more expensive with new 4G features such as higher-order MIMO and 256QAM.
Asia-Pacific — driven by activity in China and India led all regions in service provider small cell units, with 56 percent in 2017; the remainder of the bulk of small cell rollout activity was in Canada, Japan and the US.
The larger the cell, the higher the ARPU — leading to suburban, rural and remote small cells having the highest share of small cell revenue.
The indoor market, comprising the indoor urban and enterprise sub segments, is moving rapidly toward commoditization as volumes rise and service providers seek plug-and-play form factors.
Because SpiderCloud’s lead is eroded by large players such as Finland-based Nokia and US-based Cisco Systems, there may be some changes in small cell market share leadership in 2018.