The LTE small cell market saw a strong year in 2018, according to a new report published by Mobile Experts. LTE small cell unit shipments grew 20% year over year in 2018, as did revenue, which reached $2.9 billion.
Mobile Experts expects the small cell market to continue growing at a 10% CAGR over the next five years to reach $5.2 billion by 2024. Kyung Mun, principal analyst at Mobile Experts, pointed to private LTE and 5G as growth drivers in the small cell market.
Mun predicts 5G massive MIMO will “have a profound impact on C-band small cell strategies.” He also stated that private LTE and edge computing use cases “will drive significant growth in the small cell market, with new customer groups aligning to drive growth.”
The report tracks both the carrier indoor segment and outdoor segments. It notes that the indoor segment remains a key driver for the overall small cell market. “As the market transitions to 5G, we will see some challenges for small cells—especially in the outdoor segment,” Mun said.
Mobile Experts predicts “substantial adoption” of CBRS, LAA and Wi-Fi connectivity in small cells as a low-cost way for carriers to add capacity to their networks.
Small cell deployments are expected to continue to grow over the next few years, as carriers continue to densify their networks. A wave of legislation at the state and local levels aimed at streamlining the various permitting and siting processes for small cells could be spurring some of the growth.
This week, Verizon announced a multimillion-dollar deal to accelerate the deployment of 4G LTE small-cell facilities in San Diego after the city agreed to revamp its permitting process, while lawmakers in West Virginia recently signed into law similar new rules for optimizing small cell permitting throughout the state.