“While its revenue growth rate is slowing, macrocell mobile backhaul equipment remains a huge market, with annual spending up in the $8 billion to $9 billion range over the next years,” notes Michael Howard, principal analyst/Carrier Networks and co-founder at Infonetics Research. These figures are way up from 2009, when the market was estimated at less than $5 billion. Howard adds, “When we add to the picture small-cell backhaul equipment, which we believe will total a cumulative $5 billion over five years, it becomes clear that the backhaul market is massive.” According to the research firm, key drivers include the growth of HSPA/HSPA+ and spiking global LTE deployments. Without packet backhaul, it cautions, “there’s no way to handle HSPA and HSPA+. Ethernet and microwave backhaul spending are fueling the whole market.” Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent are tied for first in the Ethernet access device/gateway and Ethernet router market, while Ericsson leads in mobile-backhaul microwave equipment.

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