Wireless network infrastructure market to reach $56B by 2020, analyst predicts

The global wireless network infrastructure market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2% over the next three years, according to a new forecast from SNS Research, reaching $56 billion in 2020.

And while carriers are increasingly turning to a broad range of hardware and technologies as they upgrade their networks, the bulk of that spending will still be on standalone macrocells.

“The term ‘Wireless Network Infrastructure’ has conventionally been associated with macrocell RAN (Radio Access Network) and mobile core segments of mobile operator networks,” the research firm said in a press release. “However, the scope of the term is expanding as mobile operators increase their investments in Heterogeneous Network or HetNet infrastructure such as small cells, carrier Wi-Fi and DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems), to cope with increasing capacity and coverage requirements.”

Macrocells will continue to see “a rapid and persistent decline in standalone macrocell infrastructure spending,” the firm said, but will still account for 32% of global network infrastructure investments in 2020. Meanwhile, increased spending on C-RAN, small cells, DAS and carrier Wi-Fi, “together with fronthaul and back segments,” will claim 45% of all spending on wireless network infrastructure.

And carriers’ efforts to get the most out of their LTE networks will pay off in advance of large-scale 5G rollouts, SNS said. LTE, LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro networks will generate more than $950 billion in annual service revenue by 2020, the firm predicted.

“New market players are beginning to emerge as mobile operators accelerate their transition to virtualized network infrastructure,” SNS noted. “For example, Mavenir Systems’ merger with C-RAN specialist Ranzure Networks and its subsequent acquisition of Brocade’s virtualized mobile core business, has positioned the company as an end-to-end provider of 5G-ready mobile network solutions.”