Small cells as a service has kickstarted the sector, with new predictions that the products will experience a CAGR of 48 percent between 2014 and 2019.
A new report from ABI Research has upgraded the agency's predictions about the small cell market. It said the market had been held back by operators facing issues regarding backhaul, power and obtaining useful sites.
However, it said the increasing number of vendors who offer small cells as a service, such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia. ABI said: "These services all solve small cell deployment challenges for the mobile operator, removing fear, uncertainty, and doubt."
Researchers predicted 4G small cells will be the fastest growing category during 2015, as operators look to connect dense urban areas and venues. It said: "ABI Research forecasts the number of LTE small cells to double in 2015 and by a similar factor each year through 2019 where the value of LTE small cells will represent almost 70% of the small cell equipment market."
Nick Marshall, mobile networks research director at ABI Research, added: "We expect operators like AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Telefónica, Softbank, SK Telecom, and Sprint to drive the growth by deploying both outdoor small cell and metrocell networks.
"These changes to ABI Research’s small cell forecasts reflect real deployment scenarios from discussions with vendors and MNOs which now report that 2015 will witness meaningful small cell deployments.”
The agency said Asia-Pacific would account for more than half of the global small cell market by 2019, thanks to the heavy density of 4G deployments and China and Indian operators launching TD-LTE services.