ABI Research’s latest forecast for outdoor small cells includes new market research and revises the analyst's expectations for 2014 and the forecast period to deliver a 48% CAGR through 2019.
The challenges of backhaul, power, permitting, and siting have all served to throttle back small cell rollout, states the analyst. ABI notes that this has driven the rise of Small Cells as a Service (SCaaS) from OEMs such as Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Networks, and Ericsson and infrastructure owners such as Towerstream, Crown Castle, Cloudberry Mobile, and Virgin Media Business. These services all solve small cell deployment challenges for the mobile operator, "removing fear, uncertainty, and doubt," notes ABI.
In 2015, 4G small cells are projected be the fastest growing small cell type in the market driven by venue and dense urban deployments. ABI Research forecasts the number of LTE small cells to double in 2015 and by a similar factor each year through 2019 where the value of LTE small cells will represent almost 70% of the small cell equipment market. The Asia-Pacific region, given its large size and 4G deployments in South Korea and Japan and the start of commercial TD-LTE operations in China and India, is also projected to grow to represent over 50% of the worldwide small cell equipment market by 2019.
“We expect operators like AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Telefnica, Softbank, SK Telecom, and Sprint to drive the growth by deploying both outdoor small cell and metrocell networks,” concludes Nick Marshall, mobile networks research director at ABI Research. “These changes to ABI Research’s small cell forecasts reflect real deployment scenarios from discussions with vendors and MNOs which now report that 2015 will witness meaningful small cell deployments.”