Small cell deployments will grow at a CAGR of 46.2% over the next five years, taking the total installed base to 40 million units in 2018, Berg Insight predicts.
The research firm estimates the number of small cell base stations hit 4.1 million in 2012, as operators continue to seek ways of meeting soaring demand for mobile data. The firm predicts HetNets will fuel the rise in the number of small cells installed over the next five years, and that the cells will increasingly incorporate 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi.
André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight, predicts total mobile data traffic will grow at a CAGR of at least 50% over the forecast period, and that small cells will be one of several approaches carriers adopt to match the demand.
Other options include acquiring more spectrum, using more advanced radio air interfaces, and boosting the number of base stations in areas with the highest demand.