Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3 percent, capital expenditures on microwave backhaul equipment for mobile networks will reach almost $5 billion in 2012 as mobile network operators upgrade and transition to more cost effective packet microwave systems. The Asia Pacific and Western European regions will continue to dominate the market for microwave equipment with a combined share of 61 percent in 2017.

World-wide Opex from leased T1/E1 and Fiber backhaul represents $6.2 billion in 2012 growing at a CAGR of 2.2 percent, “We believe mobile network operators are increasingly lowering their TCO by using Capex to replace leased T1/E1 and Fiber backhaul with modern, high capacity, cost effective, packet based microwave links,” says Nick Marshall, principal analyst at ABI Research.

Meanwhile Backhaul Opex on leased copper-based T1/E1 lines will continue to shrink at a CAGR of -1.1 percent reaching only $4 billion in 2017. “T1/E1 based backhaul is no longer compatible with modern 3G/4G mobile networks and will phase out as operators increasingly transition away from legacy TDM systems,” continues Marshall.

In a newly published backhaul forecast database ABI Research focused on the last-mile and the access layer of backhaul and includes global and regional forecasts on data consumption, backhaul Opex, Capex for microwave, revenue for leased backhaul access technologies, cumulative macro base station shipments, as well as wireless traffic and bandwidth demands broken out to provide a comprehensive look at the access technologies pertaining to backhaul, as well as data traffic expected. In the report ABI Research provides backhaul forecasts for T1/E1, Ethernet over Copper and Fiber, Cable, Microwave, and WiMAX.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Mobile Backhaul Research Service which includes additional Competitive Analyses, Vendor Matrices, Market Data, and Insights.