Monday, February 28, 2011

Infonetics: 2G/3G Remains the Main Game

The number of 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile subscribers is forecast to reach 7 billion by 2015, however the vast majority will continue to be on the 2G/3G infrastructure, according to a new report released by Infonetics Research.

After plunging in the second half of 2010, the GSM RAN market bounced back (up 38% in 4Q10 over 3Q10), fueled by the start of major 2G capacity upgrades in China and India as well as modernization projects in Europe. The report takes a comprehensive look at the mobile and wireless equipment markets, including vendor market share, forecasts, and LTE and WIMAX deployment trackers by service provider and country.

"At the end of the day, 2G/3G remains the major mobile infrastructure event, dollar-wise. In 2010, the global 2G/3G/4G infrastructure market declined 10.7% to $42.4 billion, dragged down by 2G, but is expected to rebound by 9.7% this year, driven by large-scale 2G capacity upgrades, 2G network modernization, and 3G coverage optimization. It's only in 2015 that 4G (LTE and WiMAX) will have a more significant impact when a new global procurement cycle starts," predicts Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile infrastructure.

"WiMAX likely will become established as the solution of choice for niche applications, such as supporting the smart grid, public safety, private citywide communications segments, as well as more basic broadband needs. With the high volume of LTE news, people tend to overlook the fact that the WiMAX equipment market, which jumped 85% in 2010 to $1.7 billion, remains bigger than the LTE market, and continues to show healthy growth," notes Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMAX, microwave, and mobile devices at Infonetics Research.

Some other key findings:

LTE network equipment, including E-UTRAN (eNodeB) macrocells and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) equipment, jumped 704% in 2010 over 2009

Infonetics forecasts the 4G infrastructure market to hit $16 billion by 2015, driven by LTE and WiMAX investments

Ericsson is the #1 LTE infrastructure vendor, followed by Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks

Samsung remains the top-selling WiMAX vendor, followed by Huawei, Alvarion, and Motorola