Analyst: Small cell ramp won’t happen this year

New report determines that the small cell market is taking time to ramp due to complex business and technical challenges.

Oct 14th, 2013

Telecom market research firm Infonetics Research has released highlights from its latest Small Cell Equipment market size and forecast report, which tracks 3G microcells, picocells, and metrocells and 4G LTE mini eNodeBs and metrocells.

“The large service providers remain committed to their small cell deployment plans, but the pace of deployment is much slower than expected due to a sad reality: Small cell and macrocell rollouts share nothing in common,” reveals Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.

“Given that service providers are in the process of retooling their plan of attack, we’re not expecting the small cell ramp to happen in 2013,” adds Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and carrier WiFi at Infonetics, and co-author of the report.

Related: Survey identifies operators’ LTE deployment challenges

The report determines that operators’ chief purpose for deploying small cells is to complement and enhance the macrocell layer from a capacity standpoint, to enrich the mobile broadband experience. According to Infonetics Research, beginning in 2014, 4G metrocells will become the main growth engine in the small cell market, driven by in-building deployments in retail malls, stadiums, transportation stations, hotels, and event venues.

“Each technology requires its own internal business processes, which have been in place for decades with macrocells, but have to be built from the ground up for small cells, taking into consideration things like footfall, building dimensions, backhaul availability, and wireless technology," continues Infonetics' Téral. "There is no cookie-cutter template for small cell deployments!”

Infonetics ultimately forecasts the global small cell market to grow to $2.4 billion by 2017. According to the report, Asia Pacific "is where the action is in the small cell market, and where it will stay through 2017." The largest macrocell network density, with more than 100,000-site footprints, can be found in China, Japan, and South Korea, states the researcher.

Learn more about the report.

More news: Analyst: Small-cell market bouncing back after two rough years

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