The global base transceiver station (BTS) antenna market dropped 2.7 percent last year, according to a new report from N.H.-based EJL Wireless Research, which then predicts this market “will experience a volatile three-year period from 2012 to 2014 as demand shifts to multi-band products.”

The report covers BTS antenna equipment in all frequency bands from 450 MHz to 2600 MHz plus the following standards: GSM/EDGE, W-CDMA/HSPA, CDMA2000, TD-SCDMA and FDD/TDD LTE.

“The slight decline in 2011 was partly due to the Indian cancellation of GSM1800 licenses, coupled with the financial instability of Europe in the second half of 2011, off setting a very strong first half of shipments,” explains President Earl Lum. “The market continues to shift away from single band sectorized panel antennas to multi-band antennas. As a result, multi-band antennas reached nearly 35 percent of the overall mix in 2011, compared with 28 percent in 2010."

Multi-band BTS antennas grew 22 percent year over year and are expected to increase to 40 percent of the total market by 2016, Lum points out, as mobile operator demands for reducing site costs are driving the adoption of this technology. “We estimate that the Tier 1 BTS antenna suppliers controlled 47.5 percent of total BTS antenna shipments in 2011,” he adds.

“Remote electrical tilt (RET)-enabled variable electrical tilt (VET) antennas continue to gain market acceptance and reached a penetration rate of 30 percent in 2011,” Lum continues. “We expect that this segment will become the largest segment by 2015. We also believe that the introduction of semi-active and fully-active antenna solutions from Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Nokia Siemens Networks, Socowave and Ubidyne GmbH continues the transformation of the BTS site toward electronic tower-top-centric topologies.”

The report also says China and India continued to be the largest BTS antenna markets in 2011 at a combined 20-percent share. However, it forecasts that Western and Eastern Europe will have the strongest near-term growth profile through 2013.

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