NOVEMBER 18, 2009 -- Market research firm Infonetics Research says that mobile backhaul equipment investments jumped a healthy 59% in 2008 to $3.7 billion worldwide -- and the company forecasts another 60% jump in 2009 to $5.9 billion
The figures are contained in the newly released second edition of the firm’s 2009 Mobile Backhaul Equipment and Services report, which tracks mobile backhaul equipment, connections, installed cell sites, and service charges.
"We see no letup in the mobile backhaul equipment market, as service providers around the world continue to upgrade their networks to handle the rapidly growing number of mobile broadband subscribers and their bandwidth-heavy habits,” explains Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier and data center networks at Infonetics Research. “More than 100 operators are now deploying HSPA, with a coming wave of HSPA+ upgrades, WiMAX, and LTE, all to handle the skyrocketing mobile data traffic. And the most cost-effective way to do that is to transition from TDM to packet IP/Ethernet, which is driving the mobile backhaul equipment market."
However, Infonetics sees microwave, rather than optical technology, as the big winner.
"Ethernet-only microwave backhaul equipment is beginning to take off, particularly for WiMAX networks, which have no issues regarding voice timing and synchronization,” adds Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMAX, microwave, and mobile devices at Infonetics Research. “Gigabit Ethernet 'LTE-ready' microwave backhaul products were launched this year, and more Ethernet-only microwave products are expected to launch in 2010 as mobile operators move to Ethernet-only products in preparation for HSPA+ and LTE, sparking an acceleration in the Ethernet microwave backhaul segment."
In response to a question from Lightwave, Infonetics head Michael Howard says that optical equipment's role in mobile backhaul will diminish over the timeframe the study encompasses. "The SONET/SDH, DWDM, PON [product categories] together represent about 10% of the backhaul equipment spending in 2008, a little over $350M worldwide," wrote Howard in an email. "With the rapid uptick in Ethernet and the slow-to-down deployment of SONET/SDH, the portion drops to about 1% in 2013 at about $140M worldwide. We'll have to see if PON plays a bigger role than just China Mobile and to some extent, the US IOCs. WDM is just entering the scene for cell site backhaul, and we so far are forecasting it in a light role (pardon the pun), as most Ethernet on fiber will not use CWDM or DWDM."
Other highlights of the report include:
- Infonetics expects more than 1.6 billion new mobile subscribers and about 700 thousand new mobile broadband subscribers between 2009 and 2013, which will require more base stations, more cell site connections, higher backhaul capacities, and equipment for each cell site connection.
- While Ericsson continues to lead the microwave mobile backhaul equipment market with about a quarter of worldwide revenue, there remains plenty of opportunity for smaller, more nimble players such as Harris-Stratex, Ceragon and DragonWave to drive innovation and eat into the market share of the larger players
Infonetics' mobile backhaul report provides market analysis, select market share, and worldwide and regional market size and forecasts through 2013 for mobile backhaul equipment, connections, installed cell sites, and service charges. The report includes a mobile operator backhaul strategies tracker, technology roadmaps, market drivers, and pivot tables.
Mobile backhaul equipment tracked in the report includes PDH NIU; ATM terminals, cell site gateways, and switches; SONET/SDH and WDM; Ethernet cell site gateways; Ethernet cell site routers; DSL modems and DSLAMs; EPON and GPON ONTs/OLTs; coax cable modems and CMTS; microwave radio (TDM, Ethernet, dual TDM/Ethernet); WiMAX base stations; satellite modems and routers; and pseudowire and non-pseudowire-enabled IP mobile backhaul equipment.
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