The global market for antennas for wireless infrastructure, including base station, fixed and active types, is set to reach almost $2 B in 2016, according to the latest forecast from ABI Research.
So-called "active" antennas are the hot segment of this market. Widespread installations of active antennas, which combine the base station’s RF electronics in the antenna housing mounted at the top of the tower, have only begun quite recently. According to Research Director Lance Wilson, "Active antennas offer a solution to the problem of rapidly growing wireless data traffic. Conventional designs are not as efficient; active antennas offer much greater efficiency and versatility when handling large quantities of signals, including wireless data."
Apart from the "active" segment, the antenna market can be described as stable and mature. "Market growth is gradual and steady," says Wilson. "That, along with the huge size of the market (from a component or subassembly standpoint), is precisely part of its appeal for vendors."
The antenna vendor ecosystem is slightly unusual in that there are multiple tiers and many participants. The bulk of these vendors are small companies that command only fractional percentages of the total available market. ABI Research believes that some market consolidation is likely. The scenario for active antennas is a bit different, with antenna manufacturers normally partnering with equipment builders.
Will 4G provide much stimulus to the antenna market? "Some upside is present with LTE/4G," says Wilson, "but this will be moderated by the eventual decline in the GSM family of technologies. With the exception of still-developing regions, GSM infrastructure is largely built-out already. 4G won’t replace the millions of existing GSM base stations with similar quantities."
ABI Research’s “Base Station, Fixed Outdoor, and Active Antennas” study provides forecast segmentations by type, and encompass both revenue and shipments. Market share analyses for vendor, type and region are also included.
This report is part of the firm’s Mobile Networks Research Service, which also includes other Research Reports, Market Data, ABI Insights, ABI Vendor Matrices, and analyst inquiry support.