Shipments of macrocell radio transceivers (TRx) for remote radio units (RRU) and massive MIMO antenna radio systems grew 24 percent in 2017, according to market analyst Earl Lum. He forecasts macrocell TRx shipments will more than double this year, reflecting initial 5G massive MIMO deployments and countering a 28 percent drop in LTE TRx demand.

Lum, president of EJL Wireless Research, said, “Our current outlook for 2018 is moderately conservative, based upon timing of 5G NR in the U.S. and NB-IoT upgrades in China. We forecast that microwave/millimeter wave TRx shipments for 5G NR will capture 49 percent of total TRx shipments in 2018 and will exceed 200 million units annually by 2022.”

Lum said his prior forecast for total TRx shipments was within 6 percent of the “actual estimates” for each equipment supplier. “This gives us more confidence that our forecast model and research methodology is working,” he said.

Lum believes the reinstated U.S. Department of Commerce export ban on ZTE may significantly alter the market share for mobile radio access network (RAN) suppliers, which would benefit Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia outside of North America, including China.

Lum’s analysis of trends and TRx forecast are contained in the report Global Macrocell Radio Transceiver Market Analysis and Forecast, 2018-2022 14th Edition. This is the third in a series of EJL Wireless RAN market reports, complementing recently published reports forecasting remote radio unit (RRU) and digital baseband unit (BBU) shipments.