Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Huawei are among the leading players in the small cell market, which is expected to boom to more than $5 billion by 2019, according to a new report from ABI Research. Fiber owners like Virgin Media, Zayo and CloudBerry are also likely to benefit from the move to small cells.
As carriers work to cost-effectively deal with network capacity and coverage issues, they are likely going to increasingly turn to small cells. Although market researchers have bene predicting a boom in small cells for years, demand is now starting to pick up and is likely to increase in the years ahead. Many operators are likely going to outsource small cell deployments to vendors and establish RAN-sharing agreements, according to the report. "Operators' focus on competitive advantages of their core services opens the door for outsourced solutions and beneficial arrangements with the site owners," ABI notes.
In addition to the need for backhaul, small cell vendors likely will need to push for multi-operator agreements. They will also need to reduce equipment size and make sure small cells have a minimal aesthetic impact. "Increasing demand and overcrowded sites become a problem," ABI adds. "Six small cells on a street corner or light post will not fly." Release