A new report from research firm In-Stat indicates mobile operators are expected to spend almost $117 billion by 2014 on last-mile backhaul, which includes line leasing, new equipment spending and spectrum acquisitions. That figure is an increase of 41 percent from 2009's spend of $83 billion.
"We're seeing an emerging industry consensus that the optimal solution involves running fiber optic cable straight to each base station, with the Ethernet protocol as the backhaul," said In-Stat analyst Chris Kissel. "While this solution is prevalent in areas where fiber is available, the ability to install new fiber is cost-prohibitive in many locations and physically impossible in others. The best solution for each operator depends upon a unique combination of factors, thus expanding the universe of potential solutions and suppliers."
Other projections from In-Stat:
- Millimeter microwave radios will grow from $159 million in 2009 to $874 million in 2014.
- Traffic from LTE applications will begin to figure heavily in backhaul. By 2014, more than half of the capacity in North American last-mile backhaul will be dedicated to LTE.
- Wireless last mile backhaul capacity in Western Europe will more than triple between 2010 and 2014, to nearly 60,000 Gbps.
- By 2014, Ethernet will be the dominant carrier technology with 85 percentusage in base stations.
- Broadband caps are one of many factors that can slow the widespread migration to LTE.
- see this release
Designing a better backhaul network
Clearwire using millimeter-wave technology for backhaul
Microwave backhaul and the future of 4G
KU, Sprint research millimeter wave technology