Microwave PtMP wireless equipment market to surpass US$500 million by 2017

Antenna - microwave PtMP backhaul equipment marketAfrica was named as the most PtMP demanded region by ExelixisNet. (Image source: Pluton16/wikimediacommons.org)The Microwave PtMP backhaul equipment market has been predicted to exceed US$500 million by 2017, according to the latest industry report from ExelixisNet

The report, entitled PtMP Backhaul Market for LTE and small cells, revealed that despite Point to Multipoint (PtMP) microwave shipments being 26 per cent higher in the first half of 2011 than those recorded in the same period of 2012, a sustainable two-digit Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) has been forecasted by 2017.

The report said that the relentless demand for network backhaul capacity has made mobile operators consider every possible option for efficient, sustainable backhaul solutions, and added that PtMP licensed backhaul equipment remained in contention as a high-capacity technology for small cell backhaul.

The paper focussed on concerns over interference, spectrum availability and service guarantee issues, which have continued to present barriers for widespread adoption for PtMP. In spite of these hurdles, the report optimistically argued that a breakthrough might not be that far away with many operators looking seriously at PtMP solutions for small cell backhaul.

"The new all-outdoor licensed-band radios look very efficient and competitive, even in the emerging 42 GHz band, compared to the NLOS solutions, and are expected to become a key asset for backhaul links between lamp posts and the sides of buildings where small cells will be installed," remarked Elias Aravantinos, author of the report and leading analyst at ExelixisNet.

The new outdoor small cell PtMP solutions will be tested during 2013, not only to prove whether they can deliver ease of installation, attractive form factor, and improved traffic handling benefits, but also to evaluate whether the predicted lower overall cost of ownership (TCO) can be realised.

Licensed point to multi-point microwave solutions have continued to make inroads as an alternative to conventional wireless backhaul, in spite of the fact a major European network breakthrough has still not occurred, the paper stated.

The finding revealed that the Middle East remained the fastest growing region for PtMP microwave shipments between 2011 and 2012, Africa maintained a continuous demand pace between 2011 and 2012, but Latin America is expected to uptake in the next five years.

Shipments of radios in the 26GHz band represented 47 per cent of total shipments in H2 2011, an increase of 100 per cent on the previous half.

The report marked out what it described as a "lack of progress" in European Markets, while CBNL managed to maintain 50 per cent of the market share due primarily to what it termed "strong ongoing business in the Middle East and Africa", with ExelixisNet naming Africa as "the most PtMP demanded region" expected to lead PtMP growth by 2017.

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