Mobile Infrastructure Market Tumbles in Q1, Enters Post-LTE Peak Era
By Stéphane Téral, senior research director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, IHS Technology
In the first quarter of 2016 (Q1 2016), the global macrocell mobile infrastructure market totaled $10 billion, declining 18 percent sequentially and dragged by all regions except a few strong spots like Japan, North America and Mexico. The mobile infrastructure market is also down 8 percent on a year-over-year basis, signaling it has entered the post Long Term Evolution (LTE) peak era. As a result, LTE was down 23 percent quarter-over-quarter and down 6 percent year-over-year.
For the first time since the beginning of LTE rollouts in 2012, all generations of mobile technologies experienced a sharp decline. Even India, the only BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nation bright spot last year, slowed down dramatically in Q1 2016 due to spectrum issues and various deals between local mobile operators. And China was no help — with mobile infrastructure peaking there last year — and with double-digit declines in evolved NodeB (eNodeB) deployments expected this year.
Revenue for software that goes with 2G, 3G and 4G networks grew 17 percent in 2015 over the prior year to top $15.2 billion, mostly driven by LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) upgrades.
Ericsson was once again the king of the macro 2G/3G/4G radio in Q1 2016, sustained by its mix of geographically distributed large tier 1 accounts. Huawei remained number-two, followed closely by Nokia (including Alcatel-Lucent’s share). In this weak quarter, the combination of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent propelled the new Nokia into the LTE market driver’s seat, ahead of Huawei.
More Mobile Infrastructure Market Highlights
- The long tail of the 2G/3G end-of-life cycle continued in the first quarter of 2016
(Q1 2016), with revenue sinking 12 percent quarter-over-quarter, just kept alive by a strong wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA) quarter in Japan
- 422 of the 494 commercial LTE networks launched to date are of the frequency division duplex (FDD) variety
- Software for 2G, 3G and 4G networks is forecast to grow at a 2015–2020 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 percent and is projected to top $23 billion in 2020
Mobile Infrastructure Report Synopsis
The IHS Technology Mobile Infrastructure Quarterly Market Tracker tracks more than 50 categories of equipment, software and subscribers based on all existing generations of wireless network technology, including radio access networks (RANs), base transceiver stations (BTSs), mobile softswitching, packet core equipment and E-UTRAN macrocells. The report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2020, deployment trackers, in-depth analysis and trends. Vendors tracked include Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Datang Mobile, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Genband, HPE, Huawei, NEC, Nokia, Samsung, ZTE and others.