September 15, 2010 00:15 ET

Big and Getting Bigger: Wireless Backhaul Expenditures to Grow 41% by 2014, Says In-Stat

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - September 15, 2010) - Remember the Rubik's Cube? It's not far from reality in what wireless operators face in tailoring an effective backhaul solution. Considerations in the balance include cost, deployment time, leveraging existing investments, and the scale of the operators' networks. In-Stat ( believes that the total expenditures for developing an efficient and effective last mile backhaul (including line leasing, new equipment-spending, and spectrum acquisitions) will set mobile operators back nearly $117 billion by 2014, a 41% increase over 2009 expenditures of $83 billion. 

"We're seeing an emerging industry consensus that the optimal solution involves running fiber optic cable straight to each base station, with the Ethernet protocol as the backhaul," says Chris Kissel, Industry Analyst for In-Stat. "While this solution is prevalent in areas where fiber is available, the ability to install new fiber is cost-prohibitive in many locations and physically impossible in others. The best solution for each operator depends upon a unique combination of factors, thus expanding the universe of potential solutions and suppliers."

Recent In-Stat research found the following:

  • Millimeter microwave radios will grow from US$159 million in 2009 to US$874 million in 2014.
  • Traffic from LTE applications will begin to figure heavily in backhaul. By 2014, more than half of the capacity of North American last mile backhaul will be dedicated to LTE.
  • Wireless last mile backhaul capacity in Western Europe will more than triple between 2010 and 2014, to nearly 60,000 Gbps.
  • By 2014, Ethernet will be the dominant carrier technology with 85% usage in base stations.
  • Broadband caps are one of many factors that can slow the widespread migration to LTE.

The research, Wireless Backhaul: The Network Behind LTE, WiMax, and 3G (#IN1004716GW), identifies mobile backhaul expenditures and capacities. Cellular backhaul provides the crucial link between a mobile operator's RAN and its core network. Last mile backhaul is critical because poor backhaul planning can create bottlenecks that limit subscriber growth and quality of service. Backhaul opportunities include infrastructure equipment, as well as service opportunities for cable MSOs, satellite vendors, and wholesalers. The research includes:

  • Five-year forecasts for last mile backhaul capacity by medium (microwave, millimeter microwave, T1/E1/DS3/E3 copper lines, cable, fiber , copper over Ethernet) capacity forecast by air interface -- GSM, CDMA, HSPA, WiMAX, and LTE
  • Five-year forecasts for TDM and Ethernet in the last mile
  • All forecasts broken out into six regions -- North America, CALA, Asia/Pacific, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and MEA
  • How regulations, chipsets, broadband caps, and spectrum affect migration to faster airlinks
  • Profiles of key vendors: ADTRAN, ADVA Optical Networking, Alcatel-Lucent, Allied Fiber, BridgeWave, Ceragon Networks, Ciena, Cisco, Clearwire, Cox Communications, DragonWave, Ericsson, Exalt Communications, FiberTower, JDSU, Metro Ethernet Forum, Motorola (Nokia Siemens), Provigent, Proxim Wireless, RADWIN, SkyFiber, Taqua, and Tellabs

For a free sample contact Elaine Potter at: or (480) 483-4441

About In-Stat

In-Stat's market intelligence combines technical, market and end-user research and database models to analyze the Mobile Internet and Digital Entertainment ecosystems. Our insights are derived from a deep understanding of technology impacts, nearly 30 years of history in research and consulting, and direct relationships with leading players in each of our core markets.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Chris Kissel
    Industry Analyst
    Email Contact
    Phone: (480) 483-4442

    Rick Vogelei
    Marketing Manager
    Email Contact
    Phone: (480) 483-4476