Small cell backhaul market on cusp of hefty sales, claims new report

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The small cell backhaul equipment market is set to break through the $5 billion (€4 billion) barrier in 2019, with "meaningful" deployments of the technology expected during the next 12 months, new research has claimed.

A report from ABI Research has found millimeter wave technology is the most popular technology to handle backhaul, thanks to its large bandwidth and non-line of sight capabilities. That sector has predicted to have a compound annual growth rate of more than 100 percent between now and 2019.

Sub 6GHz products are set to dominate backhaul "last mile" links. The researchers said traditional microwave hardware will be used for backhaul applications, dominating revenue and comprising a quarter share of total links by 2019.

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Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research, said: "We believe that 4G/LTE small cell solutions will again drive most of the microwave, millimeter wave, and sub 6GHz backhaul growth in metropolitan, urban, and suburban areas and also backhaul for 4G/LTE small cells will grow at 2X the rate for 3G and surpass both 2G and 3G in 2016."

He added that vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, NEC, Ericsson, DragonWave, Ceragon, Aviat, CCS, and Siklu are set to benefit from the predicted growth.

Marshall said: "While the North American and Asia-Pacific regions today are equivalent in market share we forecast that it is the Asia-Pacific region which will outperform the market with 2X to 3X the size of any other region, though North America and Europe will also outperform the market."

Last month, ABI Research said the small cells market was benefiting from vendors offering to run the networks as a service, with LTE small cells set to be the fastest growing category in the year ahead.

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