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90% of smartphones to support CBRS by 2023, says SNS Telecom

person texting on smartphone
Outdoor cell sites will account for a majority of the annual spend on CBRS RAN infrastructure. (Getty Images)

SNS Telecom & IT predicts that by 2023, about 90% of all smartphone shipments in the United States will incorporate support for the 3.5 GHz CBRS band – specifically, 3GPP bands 48 and 49 for LTE and n48 for 5G NR connectivity. The research firm estimates total smartphone shipments in the U.S. at about 130 million.

“In addition to a growing selection of routers, fixed wireless CPEs, IoT modules and other devices, CBRS is currently supported by all of Apple's new iPhone models as well as a handful of smartphones from the likes of Google, Samsung, LG Electronics and Motorola Mobility,” according to a new SNS report.

The analyst group also predicts that annual investments in LTE and 5G NR-based CBRS RAN infrastructure will account for more than $300 million by the end of 2020. Complemented by an expanding selection of CBRS-equipped end user devices, the market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 52% between 2020 and 2023 to surpass $1 billion in annual spending by 2023.

“Of the total $1 billion annual spending, we predict that outdoor cell sites will continue to account for a majority share of the annual spending due to continued national-scale efforts for mobile network densification in urban and suburban settings, and large-scale fixed wireless access (FWA) rollouts in rural communities throughout the United States,” said SNS in an email to FierceWireless.

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However, SNS predicts that indoor small cell shipments will grow at a significantly higher compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 100% between 2020 and 2023 – primarily as a result of limited indoor deployments this year, which have initially been led by the healthcare and education sectors.

LTE-based CBRS network deployments are beginning to gain considerable momentum with thousands of operational cell sites throughout the U.S. to support use cases as diverse as mobile network densification, FWA, neutral host infrastructure, and private cellular networks for enterprises and vertical industries.

“We expect initial rollouts of 5G NR network equipment in the CBRS band to commence in 2021, paving the way for industrial IoT and other advanced application scenarios,” stated SNS.