LTE deployments set to power 5G indoor roll-out

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Indoor 5G deployments are set to heavily rely on LTE equipment as operators grapple with challenges around cost, analysts have predicted.

The global equipment market for in-building wireless will reach close to $10 billion by 2025, according to ABI Research. This includes active distributed antenna systems (DAS), passive DAS, and repeaters.

However, only five percent of this figure will be taken up by dedicated 5G in-building wireless equipment, with this expected to account for $509 million in 2025.

ABI Research also suggested that the overall market, which including services in addition to equipment, will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent to top $19 billion in 2025.

Indoor 5G deployments may be delayed by one year or more when compared to outdoor 5G deployments, it added.

Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research said: “As 5G nears full specification, mobile network operators will face challenges for indoor mobile coverage, including signal propagation, next-generation fronthaul/backhaul, and massive MIMO.

“Early 5G deployments indoors and in venues will be a migration building on the features of LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro. This will happen technology by technology and frequency by frequency, avoiding costly ‘rip and replace’ style deployments.”

A recent report by IHS Markit noted that the volume of indoor units surpassed those of outdoor in 2016 for the first time. However, revenues from outdoor cells are expected to continue to be higher than those of indoor, despite smaller shipment volumes, due to higher costs.