Shipments of base stations (BTS) grew by 16 percent globally in 2015, according to EJL Wireless Research. The record number was driven by China Mobile’s TDD LTE, China Unicom's HSPA+ and FDD LTE and China Telecom's FDD LTE deployments.

"2015 was all about China,” said EJL Wireless Research founder and president, Earl Lum. “LTE eNodeB shipments increased by 23 percent in 2015, as demand for TDD and FDD LTE in China drove shipment volumes. We estimate that TDD LTE eNodeBs remained at 28 percent of overall LTE eNodeB shipments in 2015.

According to Lum, Huawei Technologies shipped the most base stations in 2015 and led in LTE and GSM. Ericsson was the largest W-CDMA/HSPA+ supplier.

For 2016, EJL Wireless estimates that global BTS shipments will decline 12 percent, with eNodeB FDD LTE shipments flat, TDD LTE down 44 percent and W-CDMA/HSPA+ down 5 percent.

"With China CapEx spending peaking in 2015 and declining in 2016, we are modeling a difficult three year outlook for the industry,” said Lum.

Assessing 5G, EJL Wireless Research sees that Korean and Japanese mobile operators are focused on mobile broadband applications for 5G, while U.S. operators may leverage millimeter wave for fixed wireless services.

"We believe that the 26 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum are key frequency bands that mobile operators will focus on, instead of higher frequency bands at 40 GHz or 60 GHz. We do not expect substantial volumes for 5G infrastructure equipment to ship until 2022,” said Lum.

The full EJL Wireless analysis and forecast is discussed in “Global Macrocell Base Station/Remote Radio Unit Market Analysis and Forecast, 12th Edition, 2016-2020,” which is available for purchase at

EJL Wireless Research provides market analysis and consulting services on wireless infrastructure. The company was founded by Earl Lum, who has more than 20 years experience in the wireless industry.