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Small cell shipment retail value to top $14B by 2015

Posted: 06 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:small cell deployment? femtocell shipment? cellular infrastructure?

In-Stat has released the details of its research titled "Femtocells and Small Cells: Making the Most of Megahertz." According to the study, the retail value of small cell shipments will approach $14 billion by 2015.

Mobile data usage is increasing by a factor of 70-100 percent annually. To meet this demand, cellular infrastructure architectures have to fundamentally change as networks must deal with coverage, cell density and resistance to new macro cell base station deployments. Increasingly, small cell deployments are being used to enhance coverage. Femtocells will be used in residences and enterprises alike, and picocells will be used to provide coverage indoors and outdoors with microcells employed to cover areas where macrocells would be overkill.

Analyst: Femtocell market may lose momentum
Although the number of operator contracts has significantly increased, the number of femtocell shipments can barely keep up. Last year, only 2.5 million femtocells were shipped, a far cry from 3-4 million that were estimated. Out of the 88 contracts, 37 operators have launched services, with many more expected to launch this year.

"The potential that true mobile broadband offers in personal communications, commerce and social networking becomes a curse for mobile operators," noted Chris Kissel, senior analyst at In-Stat. "Use case determines the form factor." Studies indicate that 75 percent of mobile broadband connections are made indoors. This means that mobile operators have to ensure QoS for subscribers in their homes, at their jobs and at their leisure. Radio Access Network (RAN) devices have to show versatility. If thought of as small cells, RAN devices can provide access to as few as four users or as many as a thousand."

The research indicated that by 2015, the retail value of femtocells in Eastern Europe is estimated to reach $265 million. Roughly 30.7 million WCDMA/HSPA residential femtocells will be shipped in the same year as well. Additionally, global outdoor metropolitan picocell unit shipments will have a CAGR of 248 percent across the five-year forecast period. It was also found out that last year, the value of voice and data services hosted by small cell devices is $3.2 billion globally.

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