Technological advancements and falling device costs will drive the global femtocell market to a market value of $3.712 billion in 2020, up from $304.8 million in 2013, according to Allied Market Research.
In a new report, the firm noted that growing adoption of broadband services and mobile phone usage for video conferencing, software/music downloading and online gaming are driving growth in the femto market.
The firm predicts the United States will be the fastest-growing femto market through 2020. However, femto installation costs have proven too expensive for the Asia-Pacific to readily accept the technology. The region is also impacted by a lack of awareness, Allied said.
Though femtos can be used in commercial, consumer and public access areas, most deployments have been made in residences, Allied noted. That trend may be changing, however, as recent reports from both ABI Research and Infonetics Research indicate a shift from home deployments to enterprise rollouts.
Further, the Small Cell Forum--formerly the Femtocell Forum--has been actively encouraging deployments of femtocells and other small cells in enterprises and urban areas.
Allied looked at the two femto categories: those using an SIP/IMS approach as well as the Iuh (Iu home) interface. The former is catching on in small- to medium-size enterprises as well as residences, Allied said. However, Iuh technology has the larger market share "due to its multiple applications in networking services," and the costs of Iuh-based technology are falling, the firm added.
Infonetics also released a new report looking at the global market for 3G microcells, picocells and metrocells as well as LTE mini eNodeBs and metrocells.
"As we anticipated, the great small cell ramp did not happen in 2013 as many in the industry had hoped. Testing activity remained solid, but actual deployments were modest. Small cell revenue was just $771 million last year, a sharp contrast to the $24 billion 2G/3G RAN market," said Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics.
The firm expects the small cell market to grow 65 percent by year's end, reaching $1.3 billion. It noted that developed countries such as Japan, South Korea, the UK and United States are driving early adoption of these small cells.
Half of the 642,000 small cell units shipped in 2013 were 3G devices, but starting this year LTE metrocells will become the industry's main growth engine, Infonetics said.
- see this Allied Market Research release and webpage
- see this Infonetics release
ABI: Consumers outpaced by enterprise in the $4B femtocell market
Small Cell Forum makes the case for urban deployments
Small Cell Forum clears the path for enterprise deployments
Infonetics: Femtocell focus is moving from consumer market to enterprise