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Shift to 5G Helping Drive Wireless Infrastructure Spending, But 4G Still Plays a Major Role

October 14, 2019 By Finley Engineering in

As carriers, large and small, ramp up their 5G efforts, spending for wireless infrastructure is growing. But current technologies, including 4G and fixed wireless, which many Finley clients are embracing, are also big contributors. In fact, spending on indoor infrastructure is driving much of this wireless infrastructure spending, according to a report from ABI Research.

The global RAN (Radio Access Network) baseband and small cell equipment market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 8% through 2025, putting the market at $32 billion in 2025, according to ABI’s RAN equipment forecast report.

Spending on indoor equipment will pace the growth, according to ABI Research. Indoor equipment represents 30% of this market today. Indoor equipment sales are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.7%, representing almost half (49%) of the market by 2025.

Sales of infrastructure equipment will continue to be dominated by replacement and upgrades to 4G, ABI added. However, the ramp of 5G equipment gaining share starting in 2019 will reach parity with 4G around 2021 and continue to grow to represent 90% of this equipment market worldwide in 2025.

“Multiple technologies are converging in today’s RAN as network operators move to densify macro networks with small cells, tackle in-building wireless and evolve to new technologies such as 5G, LAA (Licensed Assisted Access), unlicensed and shared spectrum technologies such as OnGo in the United States, and MulteFire,” said Nick Marshall, ABI Research director, in a prepared statement. “These transitions are occurring against a backdrop of continuous technology evolution as networks upgrade to include MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), Massive MIMO, 256 QAM, and carrier aggregation.”

He added: “In this convergence era, an unprecedented number of non-mutually exclusive technologies and architectures are uniting to provide wireless capacity and coverage both indoors and outdoors. As the industry starts commercial 5G deployments outdoors in 2019, ABI Research anticipates that the requirements for good coverage and capacity indoors will drive signal sources indoors and provide momentum to the in-building wireless market.”