Spending on LTE radio access network (RAN) equipment will surge to nearly $22 billion by 2018, Dell'Oro forecasts.
The research firm expects that peak LTE RAN revenue will outpace the RAN revenue peaks of GSM in 2007 and W-CDMA in 2011.
“The momentum around LTE coverage build-outs and subscriber adoption is stronger than anything we have experienced with previous mobile technologies,” Dell'Oro analyst for RAN and small cells Stefan Pongratz said.
LTE's multi-band functionality is allowing operators to deploy radios in multiple bands tailored to optimize coverage and capacity, he said. “This is driving investments to remain high even after the initial LTE coverage phase.”
The top four LTE RAN vendors by revenue share in the first quarter of 2014 were Ericsson, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia.
Dell'Oro also predicts that TD-LTE will account for nearly 40% of LTE RF carrier shipments through to 2018.
In contrast to the strong LTE growth, the total RAN market is on pace to decline at a low single digit CAGR between 2014 and 2018. But revenues will grow in 2014 for a second consecutive year.