Worldwide revenues from backhaul leasing are expected to double over the next 30 months, according to ABI Research study "Mobile Backhaul – Global Market Analysis and Forecast." The growth curve even accelerates after 2012, resulting in a fivefold revenue increase between 2009 and 2014.

ABI says the main driver is the effort by mobile operators to prepare for an upgrade to LTE. Backhaul is the bottleneck that can prevent a satisfactory 3G user experience. ABI expects wireless network traffic to dramatically increase as iPhone-like devices become the norm and laptop PC card usage increases. Another indicator is the growing capital expenditure on microwave backhaul, which is expected to exceed $8.5 billion in 2009.

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