Leading market intelligence and antenna research provider, ABI Research, recently released a 2017 global report on the Mobile Broadband Antenna Market: Antenna Modernization Empowering Mobile Broadband Evolution. According to the report, antennas have manifested as a key enabler for network evolution. Antenna modernization will allow for increased capacity, easier construction, smarter O&M and facilitate target network evolution.
“Global mobile subscriptions and minimum data traffic per user requirements are evolving rapidly, which will have a material impact on mobile telcos and places significant challenges on antenna design and performance,” said Jake Saunders, Vice-President, Asia-Pacific ABI. “Research Mobile broadband antennas will need to support new features to help mobile telcos enhance network capacity, accelerate network deployment, boost target network evolution, and enable intelligent operation and management.”
The latest ABI research reveals that due to the rapid development of mobile broadband services, a sharp increase in user requirements for traffic has arisen (by an annual per capita rate of 21.2%). Operators are striving to meet the increased requirements through capacity expansion such as new spectrum acquisition, spectrum efficiency enhancement, and site densification.
In the implementation of such procedures, several antenna related issues emerged.
- Accommodation of an increasing number of new bands and multiple channels in limited antenna space
- Implementation of network convergence in multi-sector deployment where the expansion efficiency can be directly affected by antennas
- Securing the FDD frequency band in the deployment of new TDD frequency band (especially with insufficient antenna space)
- Antenna is the most sensitive factor during site densification
- High costs of antenna inspection and maintenance for increasingly complex networks
Antenna innovation is highly sought for a smooth future-oriented network evolution. Considering the future application of new spectrum and technologies, antennas need to support multiple bands and ports, TDD and FDD convergence networking, as well as multi-beam hybrid networking. This will allow more flexibility in network topology. Compact active antennas that enable simple configuration and increase site density will dominate the market. Moreover, digitalized antennas will allow for efficient and smart O&M to further reduce operator costs.
In reviewing multi-band and multi-port antennas, according to ABI, over 45% of the FDD antennas delivered in the global market in 2016 had six or more ports. Multi-band and multi-port antennas are expected to be recognized as mainstream products by 2021. Operators integrate antenna resources through deployment of multi-band and multi-port antennas, diminishing both the rental and total costs involved in site deployment. With enhanced network performance and faster commercialization of new spectrums and technologies, the multi-band and multi-port antenna will heavily promote smooth 4.5G- and 5G-oriented network evolution.
The report also shows that the global antenna industry has been experiencing fundamental changes with LTE continuing to gain popularity. As a result of persistent dedication to the development and production of antennas, Huawei has secured the leading position among top global providers in both 2015 and 2016 with regard to market-share and solution innovation capabilities.