Dell'Oro Group said it lowered its expectations for service provider Wi-Fi rollouts but is more bullish regarding licensed small cell deployments.
The research firm's optimism about small cells stems from recent product announcements by Ericsson, NSN and Huawei, which it said increase the likelihood that service providers will be able to include small cells in their budgets.
"While there is no secret at this point that service providers would prefer to roll out macros as long as possible, we firmly believe as the focus continues to shift from outdoor coverage to improving performance in high-traffic areas and indoors, that the case for small cells will eventually not only make sense from a spatial efficiency perspective, but it will also be compelling from a business point of view," said Stefan Pongratz, director of RAN and small cell programs at Dell'Oro.
Spending on both licensed and unlicensed small cell equipment is forecast to continue growing during the next five years. Licensed non-residential small cell base transceiver station (BTS) shipments will grow from 160,000 in 2015 to 625,000 in 2018, said Dell'Oro.
It added that service providers will deploy nearly 670,000 small cell backhaul links from 2013 to 2018. During the same period, service provider Wi-Fi revenues are expected to more than double.
- see this Dell'Oro release
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