IHS Technology says that the size of the small cell equipment market was $1.2 billion last year – despite achieving 44 percent growth — compared to the $22 billion 2G / 3G radio access network (RAN) market.
The number of small cell unit shipment was 1.4 million — driven by deployments in rural and remote areas and an uptick in enterprise small cell activity.
Airvana, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, ip.access and SpiderCloud are some of the top small cell vendors in the global telecom market.
Indoor small cell shipments are projected to surpass those of outdoor units by 2016. And outside of China, they already do. However, despite much lower shipment volume, outdoor small cell revenue will continue to be higher because outdoor small cells are significantly more expensive than indoor small cells.
The telecom research report said that the indoor small cell market, which comprises the indoor urban and enterprise sub segments, is anticipated to move rapidly toward commoditization as volumes rise and service providers seek out plug-and-play form factors.
Outdoor small cells are more akin to the “base station” form factor, while indoor units are transitioning to a form factor that is similar to a wireless local area network (LAN) access point in terms of size and power requirements.
Driven by activity in China, Asia Pacific leads all geographic regions in service provider small cell shipments, with 68 percent share in 2015.
The small cell market report was prepared by Stephane Teral, senior research director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, IHS Technology, and Richard Webb, research director, mobile backhaul and small cells, IHS Technology.