The “Microwave Transmission” quarterly report by Dell’Oro Group shows that the point-to-point microwave transmission equipment market declined 12 percent worldwide in 2012 to $4.2 billion as radio transceiver shipments declined 6 percent to 1.5 million.
“The market for microwave backhaul was truly impacted by surprisingly low demand in the European region,” said Jimmy Yu, vice president of microwave transmission research at Dell’Oro Group.
There were a couple of bright spots, however, according to Yu. The first was the growth in sales in the North American region as operators expanded their long-term evolution (LTE) networks. The second bright spot was the greater usage of ultra-high-capacity links using E-band frequencies to deliver a full gigabit of backhaul capacity to cell towers.
The report disclosed key findings that the North American region was the only region to achieve significant positive growth in 2012, growing 13 percent. Alcatel-Lucent captured the majority of the North American market, garnering a 44 percent market share. In contrast, the microwave sales in the European region pulled back sharply in 2012, declining 28 percent. Ericsson held the highest share of the European market at 32 percent. Ultra-high-capacity radio transceiver shipments grew nearly 60 percent in 2012.
The report tracks point-to-point TDM, packet and hybrid microwave, as well as full indoor and full outdoor unit configurations.
The Dell’Oro Group has updated its mobile backhaul five-year forecast report, which includes the networking and telecom industries, mobile backhaul (including transport and routers and switches) to reach $9 billion by 2016.
The transport portion of backhaul is expected to grow at a 2 percent compounded annual growth rate to $6 billion by 2016. Microwave will be used to backhaul over half of the sites. The router and switches in backhaul should grow at a 9 percent compounded annual growth rate to nearly $3 billion, and is expected to represent 30 percent of the mobile backhaul market by 2016. Following the rollout of macro cell sites for coverage, operators will deploy micro and pico cells or small cells for capacity in metro locations. The requirements for small cell backhaul are expected to favor non-line-of-site solutions.
“Demand for mobile backhaul is growing at a healthy pace as operators deploy additional cellular sites and upgrade to an all IP network,” said Jimmy Yu, vice president of mobile backhaul market research at Dell’Oro Group, in a company release. “Since mobile radios are carrying more packet data than voice circuits and an even greater amount in the future, we anticipate operators will continue to evolve their backhaul networks to increase throughput and efficiency with routers and switches at cell sites and network edge,” added Yu.