While the femtocell market struggled in the first half of 2012, the market has bounced back in the second half of the year. ABI Research’s latest femtocell forecast update suggests that 2012 ended up with shipments reaching slightly above 2 million units. The shipments in the second half more than doubled from the first half, making up for some of the lost momentum.
The forecast covers the enterprise and consumer femtocells market, with enterprise femtocells making up one-third of the total shipments. On the other hand, revenues from enterprise femtocells made up to two-thirds of the total revenue for femtocell access points.
Airvana, Alcatel-Lucent, and NEC/Ubiquisys remained the top vendors in terms of shipments making up 78 percent of the total shipments in 2012.
“The appetite for femtocells continues to persist as suggested by this second half bounce, which can be attributed largely to inventory levels needing a refresh, but also due to renewals of contracts driven by newer versions of access points. This is also evident in the continued growth in contracts which have reached a total of 130 globally, as per our estimates,” says Aditya Kaul, practice director, mobile networks.
Kaul adds, “The lack of operator willingness to use femtocells as a competitive network quality differentiator, rather than a defensive churn reduction tool, continues to plague the market. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see demand back up, with new markets such as Latin America and Russia lighting up. Competitive factors in certain markets are causing domino effects with one operator leading and the others following. This is enough to keep the momentum going forward, with new business models like femtocells as a service, adding to that momentum and bringing lower tier operators into the fold. Overall the market looks like it might be turning a corner.”