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Small cell market on path to recovery until 2014

Posted: 16 Jul 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:femtocells? small cell? LTE?

ABI Research has predicted that indoor small cells, which are also labelled as enterprise and consumer femtocells, will return to growth after a dull performance in 2011 and 2012. The reason behind this positive outlook is the increase in shipments driven by operators that include AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica, Softbank and Sprint in both enterprise and residential settings, indicated the market analytics company.

Overall enterprise and consumer femtocell shipments will reach 5.7 million units in 2014 compared to 3.8 million units in 2013. While 3G indoor small cells will continue to represent the vast majority of shipments it is LTE indoor small cells which are expected to ramp up significantly starting in 2013.

This picture is repeated in the forecasts for outdoor small cells with YoY unit growth of 125 per cent predicted for 2014 for a value of almost $3.6 billion, with LTE outdoor small cells exhibiting strong growth in the same time period as demonstrated by the recent announcements from AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and China Mobile that are all among the MNOs driving this market.

Not to be outdone, carrier or service provider WiFi is also emerging as an effective "carrier-grade" small-cell solution for decongestion of mobile networks and we expect the initiatives from the WiFi Alliance, Wireless Broadband Alliance, Small Cell Forum, GSMA and 3GPP to continue to ease the deployment of carrier WiFi for MNOs and MSOs alike. ABI Research predicted that the number of carrier WiFi access points shipped in 2014 will be three times the number that was shipped in 2012.

"The recent Small Cell World Summit in London also offered some positive signs that the market is growing with attendance up by 50 per cent including 230 operator delegates from 110 companies and with Cisco's recent acquisition of Ubiquisys there is some real momentum building now," noted Nick Marshall principal analyst at ABI Research.

"Another strong indicator of the emergence of a meaningful and growing indoor small cells market was the almost simultaneous announcements by both Qualcomm and Texas Instruments of latest generation baseband SoCs for small cells," added Marshall.

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