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Small Cell Networks Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

Small Cell Networks Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

  • April 2021
  • 144 pages
  • ID: 6062842
  • Format: PDF
  • Mordor Intelligence LLP


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The small cell networks market was valued at USD 3.34 billion in 2020; it is expected to reach USD 10.96 billion by 2026 and witness a CAGR of 26.82% over the forecast period from 2021 - 2026. The rapidly growing number of IoT devices and the capability of a small cell network to offer direct connectivity among those devices is increasing the demand for the small cell networks market. In the future, data transmissions for water supply valves, power supply switches, surveillance probes, and office devices are expected to be carried on small cells. This would require small cells to take more network connections and increase the network value, thus raising operators.?

- Further, one of the major driving forces for this market is the growing use of a mobile network, with increasing use of data for social media, gaming, video, and live streaming. Currently, the world is moving toward 5G, which will turn the data transformation speed into real-time. As a result, the demand for small cell networks will also increase. As an example, in February 2019- Nokia small cells provided a new mmWave and mid-band options to ensure optimal indoor and outdoor 5G coverage. The compact millimeter-wave (mmWave) radio offers cost-effective 5G outdoor coverage of extremely high traffic areas, such as airports, stadiums, and busy pedestrian zones.
- Statistics on user behavior have indicated that more and more user connections are occurring indoors, and traditional unlicensed spectrum technologies are applied mostly to indoor scenarios, therefore making it beneficial to start converging spectrum in such situations. Thus, Spectrum convergence in small cells facilitates network planning and maximizes the utilization of an unlicensed spectrum. Manufacturers of small cells to are observed to increase deployment among inbuilding applications. For instance, Ericsson’s collaboration with China Unicom represents the most massive deployment of the Radio Dot System in Beijing (at over 500 commercial and residential buildings).
- With tower leasing trends globally, as well as in the United States indicating service providers adding more capacity to the wireless network with the rapid growth in mobile data traffic, a challenge for the operators regarding site deployment, spectrum utilization, 4G & 5G networking, operation & maintenance (O&M), and cost reduction prevail. However, operators have got multiple options to deal with coverage and capacity issues. As network densification gains traction in the market with a 5G network, small-cell deployment is expected to become a necessity.
- According to ASSIA, Inc., after the outbreak of COVID-19, there is an 80% increase in PC and smartphone upload traffic since the beginning of March in the United States, with webcams, laptops, and PCs running video streams all the time. Wi-Fi networks are uploading data like never before, and a lot of teleconferencing, online education, and even telemedicine applications are not working correctly due to network problems. In such instances of high network demand, the prevailing situation of the COVID-19 outbreak could fuel the growth of the small cell network market.

Key Market Trends
IT and Telecom is Expected to have Significant Share in the Market Landscape.

- With the increasing mobile data traffic, the demand for advanced telecommunication networks is growing. By the deployment of the 5G, the rising data usage will meet the efficient network quality required. Emerging network developments needs is expected to boost the market for small cell 5G network over the forecast period.
- In the modern environment, small cells are required for various applications with the need for increased bandwidth along with the increasing number of connected devices. For instance, According to Cisco Systems Inc., 500 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet by 2030. Moreover, 5G telecom operators are focused on deploying small cell under low-frequency band for offering enhanced bandwidth services to the customer.
- In January 2020, CTIA, a U.S. based trade association representing wireless communications industry in the United States, estimated that the industry will need more than 800,000 small cells by 2026, whereas, in well-penetrated markets, such as North America, only 85,000 of smart cells were deployed back in 2018. And, at the end of 2019, T-Mobile had used over 25,000 new towers and cell sites to offer 5G to 200 million points of presence (PoPs). Additionally, the network operators who are keen on CAPEX and OPEX costs reduction strategies are exploring how to put machine learning models in small cell designs as well.
- Mobile data traffic is experiencing exponential growth, driven by data-capable devices and high-bandwidth applications (APPs). . Leading telecom operators, such as Vodafone, AT&T, and Softbank, have already leveraged their macro networks and are creating differentiation via small cell solutions. For instance, Verizon has deployed small cells in several U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and San Francisco.

Asia-Pacific Expected to Hold the Fastest Growth Rate over the Forecast Period

- Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth rate owing to the increase in the adoption of mobile devices and various partnerships between vendors in the area of 5G. For instance, In January 2019, TPG Telecom collaborated with China’s Huawei and placed small cell boxes on power poles across the suburb of Ryde, in Sydney’s north-west, to augment the Australian governments plans for a 5G rollout.
- According to Cisco, Asia-Pacific is expected to have 2.6 billion internet users by 2022. The company also stated that, by 2022, China would be leading in the world in terms of the total number of home spots, followed by the United States and Japan. The increase in mobile data traffic will support the growth of the small cell network industry due to the tremendous rise in mobile data traffic.
- As Small Cells are expected to be a significant building block in 5G networks, many of the local network providers are also investing in the equipment, further expanding the studied market growth. For instance, China-based LTE Small Cell provider and a broadband access product manufacturer, T&W, expanded its existing Small Cell product line by supporting 5G Small Cell solutions powered by the Qualcomm FSM100xx 5G Platform.
- In May 2020, Bharti Airtel and Taiwan-based Sercomm jointly developed the world’s first vRAN-based TDD small cell, which offers a plug-and-play approach for the cloud radio network connection and will deliver enhanced efficiencies. With Split Option 2 technology, the distributed unit (DU) utilizes various broadband links as a backhaul connecting to the cloud-based radio network. The small cell not only dramatically improves operation reliability but also facilitates a heterogeneous network. Adopting an open, distributed, and split RAN (Radio Access Network) architecture, enables an efficient 4G-to-5G upgrade path for Airtel.

Competitive Landscape
The small cell network market is fragmented because of the presence of many major players, like Nokia Networks, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Cisco Sysmtems, Inc. among others. The competition is very between them and the companies are continually working on upgrading their products to gain a competitive advantage. The companies are also executing strategic partnerships to increase their market share.

- March 2020 - China Unicom Beijing and Huawei together completed the first commercial installation of the telecom equipment provider’s small cell 5G LampSite 300 MHz digital indoor system. The system, which was deployed at the Beijing Long Distance Call Building, supports network sharing between China Unicom Beijing and China Telecom Beijing and provides a downlink rate of up to 3.4 Gbps.
- March 2020 - Keysight Technologies, Inc. announced that Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. is working with the company to increase the pace of small cell deployment supported by 5G virtualized radio access network (vRAN) architecture. The solution accelerates the verification of small cell RUs using the 5G NR capability of Qualcomm FSM 100xx to support a smooth process from product design to manufacturing test.

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