Global 2G/3G mobile infrastructure revenues declined by a “brutal” 19.5% in the first quarter compared with Q4 last year, according to research firm Infonetics Research.
The firm said Q1 revenues from all 2G and 3G mobile infrastructure segments –radio access, switching, packet core and home location register equipment - fell 19.5% sequentially to $8.8 billion.
“It was a brutal first quarter for the mobile infrastructure market, with all segments down, marked by the absence of 3G rollouts in China, prolonged weakness in Latin America and Africa, and a continued pause in GSM upgrades and modernization,” said Stéphane Téral, Infonetics’ principal mobile analyst.
While the GSM equipment market showed some signs of stabilization in Q409, it took a further plunge in Q110, dropping 37% sequentially and 47% compared to a year ago.
“At some point, likely in the next year or so, GSM investments will have to kick in after so long a pause,” predicts Téral.
On the upside for vendors, the firm says the W-CDMA equipment segment grew 25% year-on-year.
“We are seeing sustainable 3G upgrades continuing in North America and Western Europe, and W-CDMA and cdma2000 radio access network equipment revenues, while down sequentially, are up over the first quarter of 2009,” Téral says.
The firm also notes that Cisco, since its acquisition of Starent Networks, has become a “serious contender” in the mobile packet core segment, which it deems to be a three-horse race between Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Cisco
On the vendor front, Infonetics says Ericsson remains strong, Nokia Siemens Networks is recovering, and Alcatel-Lucent is back.