Public access small cell market valued at $16.2bn by 2016

Public access small cells are gaining market traction and will dominate small cell revenues for the foreseeable future, according to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media. The research firm has issued its latest quarterly small-cell market status report for the Small Cell Forum in which it predicts that the installed base of small cells is set to grow from almost 11 million units today to 92 million units in 2016 – an eight-fold increase – with a total market value of over $22bn.

Public access models will dominate revenues in 2016 with a market value of $16.2bn, 73 per cent of the overall small cell market total the research found. This is despite accounting for only four per cent of small cell units deployed.

The research also found that the 9.6 million femtocells in operation today make up 56 per cent of all base stations globally – outnumbering macrocells for the first time. Femtocells will continue to outnumber all other types of cell with 85 per cent of the total base station market in 2016 and constitute 12 per cent of overall small cell market revenues, according to the report.

“Public access small cells in busy urban areas are set to be one of the defining mobile network trends in the coming years. While operators won’t be deploying them in the same numbers as femtocells, they are arguably their best tool for bringing massive extra capacity to their mobile networks. As this research shows, the vendors who succeed in this space are going to win the lion’s share of small cell revenues. All eyes will be on the deployments taking place in the coming months in order to establish best practice for the many more that will follow over the next few years,” said the report’s author, Dimitris Mavrakis, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

“The mobile network is undergoing the biggest and most rapid change in its history due to small cells – they now account for 63 per cent of all base stations globally. This revolution may have started in the home with femtocells but in 2013 we’re going to see it spill into the streets, shopping centres and enterprises,” added Gordon Mansfield, the Small Cell Forum’s chairman.

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