Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its first quarter Femtocell Equipment market share and forecast report, which tracks femtocells by market segment, technology, and form factor. According to the report, following a 20% surge the previous quarter, global 2G and 3G femtocell revenue dipped 2.7% in 1Q12, even as femtocell unit shipments grew 14.0%
"A slight dip in 3G femtocell revenue per unit held back overall revenue growth in the femtocell market in the first part of the year, but price erosion is an important factor that will drive long-term volume growth," says Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics Research (Campbell, Calif., USA). "Femtocell price erosion is due to a combination of factors, including new component suppliers entering the fray, manufacturing efficiencies, and the continuing scale-up of femtocell shipment volumes."
"We remain cautiously optimistic that femtocells have sufficient market drivers and support among operators to sustain year-over-year growth through 2016," says Webb.
According to the report, Airvana (Chelmsford, Mass., USA) climbed back to the top position on the femtocell revenue market share leader board, thanks to strong shipments in North America. Samsung (Seoul, South Korea) fell to second place and Alcatel-Lucent (Paris) finally edged ahead of Cisco (San Jose, Calif., USA) and ip.access (Cambridge, UK) for the third position in the femtocell market, says Infonetics.
The makeup of global femtocell revenue is shifting radically, according to the report. Between 2011 and 2016, Infonetics expects the share of consumer femtocells to shrink from 74% of the total market to 30%, while public space femtocell share triples to 25%, and enterprise femtocell revenue share grows the most, making up almost half the global market by 2016.
More than 45 operators are now live with commercial femtocell deployments, and the Small Cell Forum reports that as of December 2011 there are over 3 million active femtocells privately in homes and offices, and publicly in metropolitan and rural environments.