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HetNet, Towers and Small Cell Sites
A time of transition for mobile telephony
Today’s mobile infrastructure
This report quantifies the macro infrastructure of base stations, ground based and rooftop towers and poles, forecasts growth and $ value to 2020 in every country, with analysis of ownership and market shares of tower vendors.
The report outlines the new infrastructure, the HetNet, the macro-micro network. It outlines the technologies of macro and of micro cells and base stations, esti-mates current penetration and projects demand.
1. TELECOMS NETWORK TECHNOLOGY AND DEPLOYMENTS - THE HETNET
We are in the first stage of a new wave of technology for mobile telephones - the HetNet. Network technology is evolving rapidly to meet exponential new demands. The focus is shifting from coverage to capacity, driven by the rise in data traffic. The answer is the HetNet/Heterogeneous network. Past networks were based almost entirely on macro cellular base stations mounted on towers, rooftops and poles. They were designed for volumes of voice mail which were small by today’s standards. Data traffic has grown exponentially and is set to escalate by leaps and bounds, driven by the Internet, videos, and a plethora of 3G and 4G mobile devic-es. The HetNet is providing the solution; a network which combines all types of base station, each designed for a different purpose; macros on towers and rooftops, micro, metro, pico, DAS and Wi-Fi both inside buildings and outside. These issues are discussed and analysed in this report.
2. RISING VOLUME OF DATA TRAFFIC
Crucial to the technology revolution is the increased sophistication of 4G and LTE mobile devices and the explosion of data traffic. Network architecture is being examined and redeveloped to meet this pressing need. Data traffic is charted, analysed by device and projected to 2020. This is straining not only network capacity but the smart phone devices as well. This has been dramatically underlined in September 2016 with the crisis which quickly brought about the demise of Samsung’s flagship high-end smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7 when it repeatedly caught fire. The electronics industry faces an increasing amount of power being shrunk into vanishingly small circuits. These circuits get hot and, sometimes, catch fire.
3. MACRO BTS - NETWORK DISTRIBUTION OF GROUND BASED TOWERS, ROOFTOP TOWERS, DAS and STREET POLES
Macro base stations (BTS) will remain the core of the networks, but the networks must develop more granular delivery. We have constructed a database of macro base stations for every country, starting from the launch of mobile services in the 1980s. In an electricity network replacement happens when equipment is past its design life and risks failure, and the replacement may also be an up-grade. In a mobile network this is not the case. From 1G to 2G, 3G and 4G and LTE the technology of the networks must be up-dated to new generations of technology at more frequent intervals. A regional analysis of GBTs (ground based towers) and RTTs (rooftop towers) is provided.
Back haul is the interface between the network core and the base station antennas and is a critical component for both macro BTS and small cell BTS. The introduction of small cells in the radio access network as a complement to the macro cell layer will intro-duce many new sites and backhaul challenges. Sites are expensive, installation is costly and has delayed the introduction of small cell BTS, but it is not insurmountable. The role and basics of backhaul are outlined. Backhaul typically makes up 25%-30% of the total capex cost of a macro cell RAN (radio access network) and a similar proportion of total cost for a small cell BTS.
5. BASE TRANSCEIVER STATIONS (BTS) FOR MACRO CELLS AND SMALL CELLS
The total market is surveyed, macro and micro. Forecasts of base station capex, analysed by macro site additions, macro site up-grades and replacements, and new small cell sites with annual expenditure from 2015 to 2020. Total mobile traffic is analysed by cell site types: macro cell, in-building small cell, outdoor small cell, Wi-Fi hotspots, residential femtocell, DAS/RRH.
6. INSTALLED BASE OF MACRO CELL SITES
This chapter is concerned with macro cell GBTs, RTTs and street pole base stations, and does not include small cell base stations. The installed base of macro towers and poles is forecast annually from 2015 to 2020 for the world, for regions and is analysed by 213 countries.
7. EXPENDITURE ON MACRO CELL SITES
The market for construction of new macro base stations (BTS), ground-based, rooftop and street poles, upgrades and replacement of aged assets is estimated and forecast in nominal $ from 2015 to 2020, for the world, for regions and is analysed by 213 coun-tries. Market commentary is provide by regions and major countries.
8. SMALL CELLS - COMPACT BASE STATIONS (C-BTS) – DEVELOPMENTS AND INSTALLED BASE
The steady growth of the macro cellular infrastructure does not fully reflect the real rate of expansion of the networks. With mobile data traffic expected to double annually, small cell base stations are set to play an important role in expanding the capacity of wireless networks. Small cells provide flexibility and increased QoS capabilities. Past development of small cells is analysed to help predict the future path. Shipments are analysed in units by cell type. The cost components of a small cell installation are analysed.
9. EXPENDITURES ON SMALL CELL SITES
Global expenditure on installing small cells with related costs and backhaul is estimated for 2015 and projected annually to 2020 for regions and 33 countries. Capex is analysed by residential/non-residential and by cell type.
10. MANUFACTURERS OF STEEL LATTICE COMMUNICATIONS TOWERS AND MONOPOLES
Global production capacity and market shares are tabled for the top 44 producers of steel lattice comms towers and mono-poles, together with total country production capacity and profiles of the leading suppliers.
11. BACKHAUL VENDORS
Backhaul vendors can be divided into two distinct groups. The macro backhaul vendors are now in a mature industrial eco-system, but typically for a new technology the small cell vendors are in the earliest stage of development, consisting of a large number of small companies and start-ups, many of which will fail or will be acquired by larger rivals, before coalescing into a mature ecosystem. The top 48 companies are listed by macro/small cell backhaul market participation.
12. INFRASTRUCTURE SHARING
Tower sharing allows operators to cut down on capital expenditure. Infrastructure cost for operators is estimated to decline by 16% to 20%. Running and maintenance of tower infrastructure, form a significant portion of operator Opex. Divesting responsibility for infrastructure unlocks value. Site and/or tower sharing is the most common form of network sharing, but full network sharing is gaining traction. The various forms of infrastructure sharing are outlined and the towerco market is analysed by country. A breakdown of tower construction cost by component is given.
13. THE TOWERCO MARKET
Infrastructure and network sharing, either between operators or via independent tower owners, is growing rapidly but has a distinct regional pattern. MNOs share assets with jointly-owned infracos in Europe, Japan and many other regions. Inde-pendent towercos started in the United States and are also prevalent in India, in China since 2015, in Southeast Asia and are making headway rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The incidence of sharing is given by regions and major countries with total numbers of macro towers and the numbers owned by towercos. Detailed market profiles are given for regions and leading countries.
14. ENERGY COSTS AND SOURCES
Energy accounts for 30% of the network operating costs of an MNO. 90% of sites have diesel base generators where tow-ers are off-grid or as standby to grid supply when grid-connected. For cost and environmental reasons there is a growing trend towards renewables systems, mainly solar PV or hybrid systems of solar PV and wind power.