The evolution toward 4.5G and 5G will be imminently accompanied by substantial network densification and massive deployments of small cells. The trend will completely transform the backhaul market and create tremendous opportunities for wireless backhaul links, said market research firm, ABI Research.
ABI forecasts that the market will deploy more than one million Sub-6 GHz licensed backhaul links by 2020 to support the growth. As the fastest growing market segment, Sub-6 GHz will challenge microwave and millimeter waves for the largest market share of 35% in 2020. The combined wireless backhaul equipment revenues from Sub-6 GHz links and millimeter waves will make up nearly 57% of the total backhaul revenue in 2020, said ABI Research.
ABI Research suggests suppliers consider offering professional services, including high-resolution 3D mapping for backhaul link placement. They should also support multiple backhaul technologies and partner with Tangible Asset Monetization Companies (TAMCos), like advertising agencies, cable providers, and tower companies, to offer rights of way, and attach permits for small cell sites. Service providers, on the other hand, should look into leveraging network sharing schemes, unlicensed spectrum, and virtualization technologies in order to lower the cost of expanding backhaul and increase the overall ROI.