Analyst: Enterprise small cell installations skyrocketing

Nov. 6, 2013
ABI Research projects enterprise small cell installations to increase 70% this year, driven by growing indoor voice and data demand.

ABI Research reports that the femtocell market has continued its steady growth in 2013, with the number of installations rising by 70% over the last year in the enterprise market.

Notable recent deployments of the technology include Telefnica in Germany and Free in France, asserts the analyst. According to a new study by ABI, the femtocell ecosystem is also developing, with more equipment providers looking to capture a share of the market which has attracted vendors from different background, including the spaces for ICT, core networks, and in-building/DAS providers.

This ecosystem growth is reflected by the number of femtocell shipments, which are projected increase tenfold by 2018, jumping from 3.75 million in 2013 to 37.45 million, according to the research. The increasing need for indoor voice coverage and data capacity is creating a large market for femtocells, concludes ABI, especially in the consumer and small-to-medium enterprise segments. These markets are also highly targeted by mobile network’s long-standing rival, Wi-Fi.

Now that Wi-Fi has entered the Gigabit era with the new 802.11ac standard delivering total data rate of 1.3 Gbps, and femtocells migrating from 3G to LTE which offers considerably higher data rates than 3G, new applications and business models are emerging. “The market is generally promising for femtocells and Wi-Fi, and while progressively growing and advancing, both technologies are looking to serve wider markets and provide more revenue-generating applications and business models,” says Ahmed Ali, research analyst at ABI Research.

Related: Analyst finds small cell wireless backhaul vendors squaring off over technology specialization

The enterprise femtocell market’s fast paced and very demanding environment has become a top target for femtocell monetization, contends the research. The report says that businesses are moving away from traditional work environments and engaging more technologies and communications trends to increase efficiency. ABI Research notes that femtocells, while fulfilling essential voice requirements, can offer other types of services, tailored to fit different enterprise sizes and businesses, such as unified communication and mobility management services.

Location based applications and services also play a major role in developing this market demand for femtocells. Enterprise location-based applications are one of the fastest growing services and are expected to generate total revenue of $1.6 billion by 2018. “Femtocells long-term presence in the indoor solutions market is determined by operators being able to generate revenue out of their services,” adds Ali.

The new report, Wi-Fi: Threat or Opportunity for Enterprise and Consumer Femtos?, is part of ABI Research’s Enterprise and Consumer Femtocells and Wi-Fi research services. Learn more.

See also: 802.11ac Wi-Fi: Time for reality check?

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