In its new Microwave Network Strategies and Vendor Leadership report: Global Service Provider Survey, independent market research firm IHS Markit reports that Ericsson has extended its leadership in key microwave radio selection criteria compared to previous years and now leads in eight out of the ten categories. Survey respondents ranked the following ten criteria for selecting microwave radio manufacturers, in order of importance: product reliability, price-to-performance ratio, service and support, pricing, product roadmap, solution breadth, security, management solutions, technology innovation, and financial stability.

The report surveyed a significant sample of operators, representing 23 percent of the 2016 global telecom capital expenditures. This year, 67 percent of respondents named Ericsson as the top microwave radio manufacturer, ten points ahead of the closest competitor in the category. 62 percent of respondents said they currently had Ericsson microwave equipment installed in their networks, and 90 percent of service providers had a familiarity with Ericsson microwave offerings, more than any other supplier.

As the industry moves to 5G, microwave radio technology will continue to play a key role providing mobile broadband backhaul capacity. Microwave is a very flexible technology and already supports 10 Gbps data rates with very low latencies. An attractive option for growth of backhaul capacity and speed is the availability of microwave spectrum and products for higher frequencies, resulting in strong interest in the industry for E-Band products, operating on radio frequencies in the bands 71 to 76 and 81 to 86 GHz.

These and other developments were part of the discussion at the fourth annual Global Microwave Meeting hosted by Ericsson on June 27–28 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Experts from the private and public sector, industry and academia discussed the critical role and technical evolution of microwave networks.

Nishant Batra, head of network infrastructure products at Ericsson, said: “Microwave is playing an increasingly important role in facilitating the rapid expansion of LTE and future 5G networks, and by 2021, we predict it will connect 65 percent of all radio sites. Mobile backhaul and microwave specifically are key areas for us, and this report reflects our commitment to be the leading microwave provider. By investing in the right portfolio for our customers, we have enabled them to reduce total cost of ownership and provide the capacity and performance expected from top performing networks.”

The IHS Markit report was prepared by Richard Webb, the research director for mobile backhaul and small cells.