Global carrier Wi-Fi equipment market to reach 1.5 billion by 2020

The global carrier Wi-Fi equipment market totalled $713 million in 2015, and is forecast to reach $1.5 billion by 2020, according to a research study by HIS Technology. The top three vendors for carrier WiFi equipment revenue share in 2015 were Cisco, Huawei and Ruckus Wireless.

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The worldwide carrier Wi-Fi equipment revenue totalled $367 million in the second half of 2015, up 6% over the first half of 2015, while mobile service providers accounted for the majority of revenue. For the full-year 2015, Asia Pacific led the carrier WiFi market in terms of geographical breakdown, ahead of EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), North America and Latin America, the study said.

The market has grown consistently year-over-year since 2007, initially due to the proliferation of WiFi as a hotspot service, but increasingly driven by a diverse customer base and technologies including Hotspot 2.0, 802.11ac and network functions virtualisation (NFV).

The report said that the worldwide carrier WiFi market will have a cumulative size of over $6.8 billion for 2016–2020 based on two strong segments: standalone WiFi access points predominantly deployed by fixed-line operators, cable multiple system operators (MSOs) and wireless internet service providers (ISPs), and dual mode WiFi/cellular access points deployed by mobile operators.

“Technology innovations continue to deliver positive impacts on the carrier WiFi market, driving current and next-generation service opportunities. Hotspot 2.0 enables operators to fully integrate WiFi with their existing broadband networks and supports service functions such as WiFi roaming,” according to Richard Webb, Research Director, Mobile Backhaul and Small Cell at IHS.

He said that WiFi standard 802.11ac, based on 5GHz spectrum, offers higher-than-ever capacities and has rapidly become the dominant standard for carrier WiFi deployments, also driving upgrade purchasing from 802.11n deployments.

The report said that 802.11ac access points comprised 61 percent of H2 2015 carrier WiFi access point revenue.

“And the evolution of NFV, which has already been introduced into the carrier WiFi market by Ruckus Wireless and Cisco, offers the opportunity for more cost-effective WiFi service delivery by a range of service providers as well as enterprises and other organizations,” Webb added.

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