Industry News: December 2014

Ovum research believes BT’s acquisition activity will kick off a flurry of mergers, making the U.K. “the hottest M+A playground in Europe.”

Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said, “Iusacell gives us a unique opportunity to create the first-ever North American Mobile Service area covering over 400 million consumers and businesses in Mexico and the United States. It won’t matter which country you’re in or which country you’re calling – it will all be one network, one customer experience."

The deal makes a lot of sense--AT&T already has a significant Latino customer base in the U.S. with its Aio and recently acquired Cricket brands. It also meets the needs of many people who bounce between the two countries for work. And, of course, AT&T is still the preferred global mobile provider for business customers. A survey conducted by Business Traveler magazine in November placed AT&T at the top for the third consecutive year.

Small cell market is set to boom

Small cells are big news, but rollouts have been delayed and predictions have fallen flat. That is about to change, however; ABI Research expects the small cell backhaul equipment market to exceed US$5 billion in 2019, which aligns with operators’ deliberate approach to small cell deployments. These changes reflect real deployment scenarios and ABI Research believes 2015 will now witness meaningful small cell deployments.

Millimeter wave technology—thanks to its large bandwidth and NLOS capability—is the fastest growing technology in ABI’s forecast, outpacing the overall market with over 100% CAGR between 2014 and 2019. Sub 6GHz technology will capture the largest share of small cell backhaul “last mile” links, also outperforming the total market by 2019. Traditional microwave equipment remains a top technology for small cell backhaul applications with a leading share of revenue and one-fourth share of links in 2019.

“We believe that 4G/LTE small cell solutions will again drive most of the microwave, millimeter wave, and sub 6GHz backhaul growth in metropolitan, urban, and suburban areas and also backhaul for 4G/LTE small cells will grow at 2X the rate for 3G and surpass both 2G and 3G in 2016,” said Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research.

"While the North American and Asia-Pacific regions today are equivalent in market share, we forecast that it is the Asia-Pacific region which will outperform the market with 2X to 3X the size of any other region, though North America and Europe will also outperform the market,” continued Marshall. Leading vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, NEC, Ericsson, DragonWave, Ceragon, Aviat, CCS, and Siklu are among the vendors that stand to benefit from this growth.

Nokia Networks is waiting in the wings with a small cell solution that leverages LTE-Advanced technology--carrier aggregation--to deliver a peak data rate of more than 200 Mbps. With these new diminutive powerhouses, throughput in hot spots and complex urban areas, such as crowded outdoor and indoor locations, can be doubled using a single micro or pico base station. The development will help operators satisfy mobile data traffic growth with easy-to-deploy small cells.

“Many pundits thought was impossible by packing a macro sector’s worth of capacity into the industry’s smallest outdoor small cell and bringing full macro software parity,” said Marc Rouanne, Executive Vice President, mobile broadband, Nokia Networks. “We also promised to show that it would be possible to software upgrade a small cell to LTE-A. Now we’ve done that too.”

KORE Wireless scoops competitor RACO

Just as we see in the wireless market, the machine to machine (M2M) market is in a state of flux. On November 12, KORE Wireless acquired Raco Wireless in an all-cash transaction. Following the completion of this transaction, the combined company will have offices in five countries and serve more than 3 million subscribers on behalf of over 1,500 customers using services in more than 110 markets around the world.

John Horn, President of RACO and frequent Pipeline contributor, will become the Executive Vice President and chief strategy officer of the newly combined company. “This acquisition is a great fit between two companies that have been pioneers in this space,” said Mr. Horn. “This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the IoT/M2M industry, and create a company that has the right scale and focus to shape the course of the Internet of Things.”


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