The carrier Wi-Fi infrastructure market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% over the next five years, reaching a total of approximately $11 billion by the end of 2018.
The continued demand for mobile broadband services will play a critical role in maintaining the carrier Wi-Fi and small cell market's growth, amid a growing demand of convergent, intelligent and vendor agnostic small cell platforms by carriers.
The carrier Wi-Fi equipment market has grown consistently since 2007, initially driven by exploding demand from mobile operators augmenting their 3G and 4G deployments with Wi-Fi hotspot services.
Mobile Wi-Fi access points are expected to experience the highest compound annual growth rate of 86% through 2016, as mobile operators seek a closer integration of Wi-Fi with the mobile network.
The strongest new growth driver is mobile operators deploying carrier Wi-Fi to offload a portion of their mobile data traffic.
The technology has now very much been embraced by all industry players, with the consistently increasing number of hotspots offered lending evidence to this. The proliferation of Wi-Fi as a hotspot service is now very real.
In terms of cost per bit delivered, Wi-Fi is cheaper than LTE. Mobile operators are therefore investing heavily in this technology, which is leading to various projects combining small cells and Wi-Fi. Among the results are complex combinations in distributed-antenna-system (DAS) networks combining radio nodes and core networks.
BelAir Networks (recently acquired by Ericsson), Cisco, and Ruckus Wireless together account for more than two-thirds of 2011 global carrier Wi-Fi equipment revenue.
New players have been forecast to enter the market, disrupting early market share standings, and, with growing demand for Wi-Fi integrated base stations from mobile operators, carrier Wi-Fi market share could shift toward the mobile infrastructure vendors.
For more information on the carrier Wi-Fi infrastructure market, see the latest research: Carrier Wi-Fi Infrastructure Market
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