A surge in LTE spending, particularly across China with the market's widespread deployment of TDD-LTE, has led mobile infrastructure market revenue to increase 10 percent to $46.8 billion (€44.0 billion), a new report has claimed.
Research from Infonetics revealed spending in the fourth quarter last year hit $12 billion, up eight percent on the previous quarter and 10 percent on 2013. It said China Mobile's aggressive push into TDD-LTE accounted for a large chunk of the spending, with 700,000 eNodeB units rolled out as of January 2015.
It said Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Networks were the market leaders – this is according to alphabetic order – although the report singled out the Finnish vendor due to its work with Sprint and T-Mobile in the United States and its involvement in the LTE deployments across China.
While vendors will benefit from LTE growth in the short-term, with more than 450 commercial deployments expected by the end of 2015, it is a different story in the long-term. The report predicted spending across 2G, 3G and 4G equipment would drop from the $47 billion spent last year to $27 billion in 2019, as the market reaches the end of its macro-cell deployments.
Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research, commented: "We have consistently said that LTE was supposed to pull the entire mobile infrastructure market out of the funk, and so far it has. LTE revenue grew 69 percent in 2014 from the previous year.
"That said, we've reached the peak of LTE buildouts on this planet, and we believe market dynamics will cause the mobile macro infrastructure industry to enter a long-tail decline beginning in 2016 until 5G eventually kicks in."