Backhaul investments continuing despite recession - ABI

Wireless players will continue to invest in backhaul despite the economic recession, as operators gear up for deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, ABI Research said.

The research firm expects revenue from backhaul leasing to double over the next 30 months, and increase fivefold between 2009 and 2014.

"Operators might not deploy LTE immediately," said senior ABI analyst Nadine Manjaro, "but they know that before they do, they'll have to upgrade their backhaul capacity."

In the US, Verizon Wireless has signaled its intentions to deploy LTE by the end of 2009, with a more significant deployment in 2010. MetroPCS plans to launch LTE in the second half of 2010 and AT&T will follow in 2011. In Europe, LTE adoption is picking up  as well.

As the amount of data flying across operators' networks increases, backhaul will become an increasingly critical component to network management. Operators are also looking to microwave backhaul as a solution. The microwave backhaul market will top $8.5 billion in 2009, according to ABI.

The money flowing into capital expenditures for backhaul will go to a variety of players, from infrastructure vendors like Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks to microwave equipment vendors like Dragon Wave and Harris Stratex.

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