Metrocells may have all of the buzz right now, but DAS has the numbers, according to analysts. By 2017, DAS deployments could see more than 300 percent growth, according to iGR Research, a market Research firm, which just released a report U.S. DAS Market Forecast, 2012 to 2017 Installations, Tenancy, OpEx and CapEx and held a complimentary webcast.
DAS will become more important to carriers in the next four years and in-building systems will be the next competitive battleground as more employees are allowed to “bring your own device” (BYOD) to work, Ian Gillott, president and founder of iGR, said during the webcast.
“There are a lot of [DAS] systems out there with a single tenant, a lot with only a couple of tenants and very few with four or five tenants,” he said. “We see more tenants per DAS system later in the forecast.”
The report also forecasts capex and opex for the next five years, indicating that they will increase at roughly the same rate for that period by as much as 500 percent.
The report discusses the future of the DAS market overview and who will be the players. Currently, according to the report, only one or two operators have a serious commitment to DAS in future deployments (AT&T’s antenna solutions group is the most vocal), driving capex and opex from 2012 to 2013. However, the report does not expect major growth in capex and opex until sometime in 2015, when other major carriers get involved in DAS deployments.
“The other carriers are going to have to be more active [in in-building DAS]. They are talking about, and we will see more activity but you don’t see it right now,” Gillott said. “That’s why we will see a lull in [DAS spending between 2013 and 2014]. 2015, 2016 and 2017 will be driven by the whole industry.”
DAS Data is Most Popular Research
The webcast presented a high-level overview of DAS and the small cell infrastructure, with supporting data using the study results. It discusses what it is, where it will go and what comprises a DAS. It also looks into the immediate future with some prognostication of numbers and growth and how it will play out in the next few years, especially for large, in-building systems. High industry interest in the research would seem to validate the future of DAS.
“[DAS deployment] webinar was based on the most popular research that we have done in the last two years,” Gillott said.
The report provides an overview of the components of DAS and small cells and defines the basic parameters and components of a distributed antenna system and what type of DAS systems will be built going forward. It discusses the type of systems likely to be deployed (single vs. neutral host). The report also discusses what the philosophy is about locations of base stations and how the interconnect is implemented for remote locations. According to the report, base station hoteling will be a coexistent implementation with DAS rather than a competitor or a replacement for DAS systems.
Next, the report discusses where DAS is the preferred technology infrastructure. It goes into good detail and depth in the positioning of DAS vs. enterprise-level femto or picocells. The report makes note of the reasons and justifications for the choices and what to expect in terms of costs and ROI and challenges that need to be overcome. It also discusses what to expect from the DAS installation with respect to the installation and what, if any, complimentary technology might be required (Wi-Fi for example).
It goes on to provide a valuable discussion of the pros and cons of DAS, which takes a fairly in-depth look at the issues and explanations of the implications of the issues that surround DAS installations – data that is very valuable to system integrators, enterprise operators and third-party suppliers. This part of the presentation does one of the better jobs of culling out the issues and how they must be evaluated when deciding if DAS is a good fit or if other small cell technologies should be considered. It also addresses the capex, and subsequent opex of the deployment. Further data in the report takes a very detailed look at a large number of variables that affect DAS deployments.