The rapidly surging consumption of mobile data will leave companies with no choice but to migrate to the current LTE backhaul standards lest they be unable to provide the speed and capacity demanded by their subscribers.
Infonetics is predicting that over 80 percent of backhaul services revenue come 2015 will be derived from Layer 2 Ethernet services. The market research firm further expects that the shipment of small cells will increase from its 2012 total of 261,000 units to five million units come 2017.
Ethernet backhaul costs the least per bit out of all the options. It is also the quickest to scale up networks. Its cost-effectiveness and flexibility allows carriers to increase their bandwidth to satisfy subscriber demand while also avoiding the pitfall of over-provisioned work.
Currently, Verizon, AT&T, and other large companies account for the majority of Ethernet service backhaul deployments to large cell sites. Analysts, however, believe that 2013 will witness 35% of the Ethernet backhaul market going to third-party wholesale carriers.
Furthermore, identifying underserved cell sites will be important for the continued growth of profits. Analysts propose that carriers should assemble a list of profitability criteria regarding pertinent factors about their cells such as location, bandwidth demand, and competitive environment. The carrier should then expand their networks in underserved but potentially profitable urban core environments by deploying small cells in support of the macro cell.
Analysts predict that Ethernet-over-fiber networks will experience compound annual growth of 45 percent during 2015. If this hold true, then the fiber networks operated by cable multiple service operators will quickly increase from the 7 percent of the total number of large cell towers they currently serve to 80 percent of all U.S. macro-cell sites.