Mobile Experts has released a small-cell market forecast, which predicts more than 5 million metrocells to be shipped in 2017. The company predicts slow growth for residential femtocells at only 12 percent per year, based on weak shipment data during 2012. As mobile operators push hard for high-capacity small cells, faster growth will come from capacity upgrades.
The research company predicts that outdoor metrocells and indoor capacity nodes will overtake residential femtocell shipments in the 2016 time frame. More than 100,000 public small cells are already deployed in Korea and Japan. “The Asian market is stretching the femtocell into areas where small cells are handling capacity effectively for operators like KT, SKT and NTT DoCoMo. Other operators around the world will follow this example as the LTE macro rollout is completed and capacity tightens up in North America, China, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East,” explained Joe Madden, principal analyst at Mobile Experts. According to Madden, the bottom line is that small cells are 65 percent less expensive than macro base stations, for adding mobile capacity.
Eight different types of small cells, by architecture and by power level, are identified in the forecast. In this year’s analysis, Mobile Experts included low-power remote radio head units, multiband small cells, and carrier aggregation into the forecast, with 33 band combinations identified for interband CA. The report breaks down small-cell shipments by frequency band and identified 38 frequency bands for small-cell deployment.