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HSPA, LTE Spur Backhaul Boom

Sales of Ethernet infrastructure equipment jumped 36% to $4.8 billion in 2009, forecast to hit $8.2 billion by 2014, as carriers rush to deploy advanced mobile networks.

With wireless carriers rushing to deploy HSPA/HSPA+, and long-term evolution (LTE) ready to be deployed in an even bigger way, spending on backhaul infrastructure is spiking and will continue to spike in future years, according to a new report from Infonetics Research.

Noting that infrastructure spending took a small breather in recent months, the "ongoing HSPA/HSPA+ onslaught" is expected to gather momentum soon with Ethernet solutions expected to lead the way, said Michael Howard, the market research firm's principal analyst.

"Last year Ethernet-based mobile backhaul equipment sales jumped 36% year-over-year to $4.8 billion, representing 80% of total backhaul spend," Howard said in a statement. "We expect Ethernet spending to spike again in 2010 and growth to continue for many years."

He continued, "We see no letup in the Ethernet market: improvements to backhaul solutions, such as packet timing and synchronization, have been made, and about 100 operators around the world are now actively deploying a single IP-Ethernet backhaul to carry all traffic."

Noting that even though spending for legacy time division multiplexing (TDM) microwave is rapidly declining, Infonetics said the overall mobile backhaul equipment market is expected to grow to $8.2 billion by 2014. The surge will be supported chiefly by Ethernet gear.

Infonetics ranks Ericsson as leading in mobile backhaul microwave revenue market share with Huawei, Nokia Siemens, and NEC in close pursuit. Ethernet mobile backhaul equipment is expected to jump a huge 367% in 2010 over the previous year's figures with global service providers expected to spend $36 billion on mobile backhaul gear.

In worldwide revenue in the Ethernet cell site routers and gateways segment, Alcatel-Lucent is in the forefront, pacing Tellabs, Cisco, and Huawei. Already enjoying double- and triple-digit percent revenue increases in 2009, the cell-site routers and gateways market segment is expected to continue its strong growth at least through 2014, Infonetics said.

T-Mobile has been pacing the HSPA/HSPA+ market in recent months. Verizon Wireless has been deploying its LTE networking infrastructure, and AT&T is expect to ramp up its LTE network next year.

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