The wireless network infrastructure market is currently in a phase of transition as mobile operators seek to address increasing mobile traffic demands amidst global economic uncertainties. This paradigm shift is bringing new challenges and opportunities to infrastructure vendors.
In 2015, global 2G, 3G, and 4G wireless infrastructure revenues stood at USD 65 billion. SNS Research estimates that these revenues will remain flat in 2016, largely due to declining macro cell RAN and mobile core investments. Over the next 4 years, the market is expected to decline at a CAGR of 1 percent, eventually shrinking to USD 61 billion by the end of 2020.
Despite the ongoing decline in the wider market, mobile operators are expected to significantly increase their spending in the evolving heterogeneous network submarket, which encompasses small cells, carrier Wi-Fi, distributed antenna systems and centralized RAN infrastructure. Small cell and carrier Wi-Fi equipment alone will represent a market worth USD 3 billion in 2016. Supplemented further by DAS and C-RAN investments, the HetNet sector is attracting considerable attention from both established vendors as well as startups that solely focus on this submarket.