Small Cells to Grow Seven-Fold Through 2017

Dell’Oro Group has published a report showing that public-access small-cell equipment comprising service-provider Wi-Fi (SP Wi-Fi), and evolved WCDMA/LTE and multimode WCDMA/LTE/Wi-Fi small-cell radios, will drive future growth in the market.

According to Stefan Pongratz, senior analyst with Dell’Oro Group, the report finds that the small-cell markets, including the public-access market (residential and enterprise), will generate the most rapid growth in the next five years. “Even though significant challenges remain for operators to move to large-scale small-cell deployments in the licensed spectrum, there are clear indicators that a number of early adopters are looking to shift some CAPEX from outdoor population coverage to indoor coverage and cell edge performance,” Pongratz stated in a company release.

The report includes an assessment of the backhaul vendor landscape, vendor solutions and the various backhaul technologies that will be used at different small-cell sites. More than 60 percent of small-cell sites that use external backhaul will rely on line-of-sight (LOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) microwave by 2017. Analysis of unlicensed small cells also shows that SP Wi-Fi will account for approximately 85 percent of all small- cell radio shipments in 2017.

A five-year unit and revenue forecast of the following segments also appears in the report: radio access network (WCDMA/LTE – traditional and evolved), backhaul (LOS/NLOS microwave and fiber/copper), and SP Wi-Fi (enterprise-class devices and outdoor mesh nodes that ship to service providers).