Market Insight

Global mobile infrastructure market down 14 percent from a year ago

March 13, 2018

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Following are highlights from the first quarter 2018 edition of the IHS Markit Mobile Infrastructure Market Tracker, which includes data for quarter ended December 31, 2017. The report tracks 2G, 3G, LTE and 5G equipment and software.

Globally, the mobile infrastructure market — including all types of radio access network (RAN), switching and core equipment — grew 15 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2017 (Q4 2017), driven by previous year-end loaded projects in various spots, including China and India, and the completion of other expansion projects in North America. However, the Q4 2017 market was down 10 percent on a year-over-year basis and down 14 percent for the full-year 2017.

“The worldwide mobile infrastructure market gained some steam in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to bring the whole year back into positive territory,” said Stéphane Téral, executive director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics research at IHS Markit.

“Despite relative stability in North America and a slight pickup in Japan, full-year 2017 mobile infrastructure revenue declined in all regions, and even more so in China,” Téral said. “All of this confirms we are now in the second year of the post-LTE peak era.”

Mobile infrastructure market highlights

  • For the full-year 2017, global 2G/3G/LTE macro hardware revenue totaled $37.2 billion, declining 14 percent from $43.3 billion in 2016
  • China remains the largest mobile infrastructure market with around 680,000 enhanced NodeBs (eNBs) shipped last year, down from 1 million in 2016
  • When excluding 5G from the forecast, the global 2G/3G/LTE mobile infrastructure hardware market is projected to slowly decline to $13 billion by 2022 — a five-year (2018–2022) compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -18.4 percent
  • When including 5G in the forecast, 2G/3G/4G/5G hardware revenue is anticipated to increase to $25 billion by 2022, with a five-year CAGR of -7.8 percent
  • 5G hardware revenue is expected to reach $11 billion in 2022, starting from a very low base of early adopters in the US in the second half of 2018, followed in 2019 by South Korea and China’s massive trial that will generate revenue for vendors

Mobile Infrastructure Market Tracker synopsis

The quarterly mobile infrastructure report from IHS Markit tracks more than 50 categories of equipment, software and subscribers based on all existing generations of wireless network technology, including radio access networks, base transceiver stations, mobile softswitching, packet core equipment and E-UTRAN macrocells. It provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2022, in-depth analysis and trends.

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