Small cell market saw ‘solid’ growth in 2016 with indoor deployments key

Global small cell rollouts delivered strong double digit year-over-year growth to the market last year, with 1.7 million units shipped and $1.5 billion in revenue, according to a research note from IHS Markit.

The research firm has released its H1 2017 “Small Cell Equipment Biannual Market Tracker” report, which contains data and analysis for the half-year ended December 31, 2016. Units shipped saw 43% growth year over year, compared to 26% for revenue figures.

According to the report, much of the growth was driven by an increase in rural and remote deployments—as well as strong indoor small cell activity from the enterprise and urban segments, which are seeing an increase in public venue deployments. The volume of indoor units surpassed those of outdoor in 2016 for the first time.

On a geographical basis, Asia Pacific led all regions in service provider small cell units with 59% in 2016, IHS added. North America took the second spot, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with the Caribbean and Latin America trailing. IHS’ long-term forecast for the global small cell market is that it will grow at a CAGR of 8.4% from 2016 to 2021, when it will reach $2.2 billion.

The Small Cell Forum, a leading industry body in the topic, published Release 8 in November, which details technical and commercial best practice for operators. The guide combines unique experience of real-world deployments of NFV technology today with small cells at the network edge, which will be invaluable in building out the networks for the future.

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