Unlicensed radio market seeing ‘brisk’ growth

Unlicensed radio market seeing ‘brisk’ growth

Market news |
By Rich Pell

In their latest report, Mobile Experts forecasts that the LTE-based carrier unlicensed radio equipment market, including LAA, CBRS, and MulteFire, will grow quickly to over $1.6 billion in 2023, growing from just over 22% share of the overall Carrier Unlicensed Radio market (for mobile and nomadic applications) to over 80% in 2023. The Enterprise market will stay on track with Wi-Fi, but we are now starting to see a shift toward LTE in carrier investments.

Mobile operators, cable and fixed operators, and Over the Top players are all getting involved in this market as free spectrum allows them to deploy new LTE, Wi-Fi, and other options for commercial services.

With mobile operator preference for LTE-based systems, the standalone AP segment of the carrier unlicensed radio infrastructure market previously, solely based on Wi-Fi is expected to trend down in the near term. Cable operators and other OTT providers like fixed wireless ISPs in rural areas will continue to adopt Wi-Fi as they transition to 802.11ax. The mobile operators will use LAA in ‘hotspot’ locations to increase network capacity for ‘Gigabit LTE’ services, and almost all of the US players are looking at investments in CBRS/OnGo infrastructure.

According to the report, “Growth in the LTE-based unlicensed and shared spectrum segment—like CBRS and MulteFire—will not meaningfully impact the Enterprise WLAN market. However, the introduction of LTE-based technologies such as LAA and MulteFire, and new approaches that open up spectrum under coordinated sharing like CBRS, will revolutionize the overall carrier wireless infrastructure equipment market and leverage unlicensed and shared spectrum.”

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