Report: Small cells market returning to growth in 2013

Growth is returning to the small cells market in 2013 after a lacklustre 2011 and 2012, with an increase in unit volumes in 2013 and 2014, according to a new report from ABI Research. The research company forecasts that overall small cell shipments will reach 5.7 million units in 2014 compared to 3.8 million units in 2013. While 3G indoor small cells will continue to represent the vast majority of shipments, LTE indoor small cells are expected to ramp up significantly in 2013. Operators such as AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica, Softbank, and Sprint are all at the forefront of driving shipments in both enterprise and residential environments. ABI Research added that carrier or service provider Wi-Fi is also emerging as an effective "carrier-grade" small cell solution for decongestion of mobile networks, and it expects the initiatives from the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wireless Broadband Alliance, Small Cell Forum, GSMA and 3GPP to continue to ease the deployment of carrier Wi-Fi for MNOs and MSOs alike. ABI Research predicts that the number of carrier Wi-Fi access points shipped in 2014 will be three times the number shipped in 2012. Release