Dell'Oro: CDMA growth drove infrastructure market in Q1

A burst in activity for CDMA/EV-DO network sales helped drive the wireless infrastructure market in the first quarter, according to a new report from research firm Dell'Oro Group, and the surge is likely to continue.

In the first quarter, revenues for the total wireless infrastructure jumped 22 percent to $9.6 billion, according to Dell'Oro. Sales of CDMA/EV-DO gear comprised one-third of the market's gain, the firm said.

Sales of CDMA gear in North America spiked 65 percent in the quarter, the strongest increase in the region since the inception of CDMA. The chief beneficiaries of all of this growth have been market leader Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU), which Dell'Oro said were by far and away the top choices for CDMA suppliers. Both Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent saw their North American sales increase around 40 percent in the quarter.

"This is not a one-quarter surge in CDMA investment," Stefan Pongratz, a Dell'Oro analyst, said in a statement. "North American operators depend heavily on their 3G networks to support mobile data traffic, and they are fortifying their footprints. The growth in CDMA/EV-DO came from many operators such as Verizon (NYSE:VZ), followed by Sprint (NYSE:S), MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS), and Leap (NASDAQ:LEAP), to name a few. 3G infrastructure paves the continent, reaching the most remote locations and it will be the backbone of mobile services for several years while operators build out their LTE networks."

The report comes hot on the heels of Dell'Oro's wider survey of network infrastructure market share. Ericsson saw its market share surge from 35 percent to 40 percent in the quarter. Meanwhile, Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei saw their market share drop to 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively, according to Dell'Oro; both companies had a 20-percent share last year. Alcatel-Lucent saw its share climb to 15.5 percent, up from 14 percent in the year-ago period.

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