The technology market research firm ABI recently revised its forecast for wireless infrastructure. Demands for 3G, universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS) base stations will actually outpace earlier, conservative estimates the firm issued. Total UMTS deployments for 2003 will reach just about 35,000 units, versus earlier estimates of about 32,500. Further analysis of contract wins shows that awards dipped in August and September of 2003, but continued on the upward trend established earlier in the year. Just over a third of all contracts were awarded in the Asia-Pacific region, with about one quarter awarded in the Americas. Europe captured slightly less than a quarter of the wins, with the Middle East and Africa taking fifteen percent of all contract wins.

Though contract wins are on the rise, the overall market will not reach its previous highs any time soon. With the market peak exceeding $20 B a few years ago, it is now well off those highs, with overall industry revenue set to reach about $17 B in 2003. While growth in the overall market will be hard to find, ABI projects UMTS equipment revenue growth of nearly 40 percent from 2003 to 2004.

"Due to increasing pricing pressure, revenue growth will lag unit growth as deployments accelerate," states Edward A. Rerisi, ABI's director of research. "The key to this market is examining operators' deployment timelines, as they continue to shift." Part of ABI's analysis of this market segment includes a thorough examination of over one hundred operators deploying UMTS or considering this upgrade path.

Details on UMTS deployments and operator contract awards can be found as part of ABI's Wireless Infrastructure Quarterly Service and ABI's Wireless Operator Quarterly Service. Both services analyze the global market for UMTS and other 3G technologies, including CDMA2000.