Infonetics Research has released excerpts from its latest “Small Cell Equipment Market Size and Forecast” report. It tracks 3G microcells, picocells and public access femtocells and 4G LTE mini eNodeBs and public access femtocells.
“2013 is shaping up as a kick-off year for small cells, driven by 4G small cells deployed for capacity upgrades,” said Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research. “AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the U.S., Vodafone in Europe, LG U+ in South Korea, and NTT DOCOMO in Japan, have announced major small-cell plans, driven by the need to enhance the capacity of saturated macrocellular networks as they seek to deliver denser, higher-capacity coverage to tech-savvy populations in urban areas.”
Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and carrier Wi-Fi at Infonetics, and co-author of the report, also added that “As operators formulate their plans for small-cell rollouts, one of the key decisions will be how tightly to integrate Wi-Fi. Last year, we saw clear indications that picocells would have integrated Wi-Fi, and this has indeed materialized. Both technologies have similar range and power requirements, which may provide an advantage for picocells over microcells, as the dense cell option could have its own in-built offload option.”
Some highlights from the report forecast the global small-cell market to grow from a very small base now to $2.7 billion by 2017. Because of the current pace of LTE rollouts worldwide, 4G small-cell shipments are anticipated to overtake 3G shipments by the end of 2013. South Korea’s SK Telecom has deployed close to 40,000 small cells and is the leading adopter of 4G public-access femtocells to date. Backhaul is no longer an inhibitor to small-cell growth, but could remain an issue depending on such factors as location or mobile operator. Infonetics expects Asia Pacific to lead the small-cell market in 2013 with 50 percent of all units shipped, followed by EMEA with 34 percent, and North America with 14 percent.
The biannual report provides worldwide and regional market size, forecasts through 2017, analysis and trends for 3G microcells, picocells and public-access femtocells and 4G (LTE) mini eNodeB and public access femtocells.