April 30, 2012 06:00 ET

New iGR Report Finds That Microwave Backhaul Issues Could Significantly Slow Small Cell Deployment

New iGR Study Shows That Demand for Microwave Backhaul Forecast to Grow at a CAGR of 68 Percent From 2011 to 2016

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - Apr 30, 2012) - Microwave is seen as a solid alternative to fiber and T1 for mobile operators to deploy as they struggle to understand and implement new small cell architectures and/or deal with escalating mobile data requirements and costs on their network. Microwave is scalable, cost effective and may be a better alternative to both fiber and T1, depending on geography.

iGR's new study looks at how microwave backhaul is deployed, the technical solutions available and forecasts the amount of traffic likely to be carried on microwave backhaul through 2016. Importantly, iGR also interviewed major operators as part of the research for this study.

"One of the major challenges with deployment of small cell architectures is how to provide backhaul to the cell. While fiber is the ideal solution, that is not always physically possible with small cells and so microwave is being seen as an ideal alternative," said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile industry. "But, according to our new research, the major operators have many concerns about the viability of microwave for small cells. These concerns are significant enough that they could significantly slow -- or even stop -- the deployment of small cell architectures."

New and emerging vendors in this space are hardware, software, and network agnostic, which provides for a much greater level of flexibility during this period of flux. But with a mind-boggling suite of diverse microwave and millimeter wave solutions available, many vendors will be involved in a torrid battle for survival and supremacy in the next 12 to 18 months. The number of new vendors also raises concerns of the mobile operators, many of whom are questioning the validity of some of the marketing claims. A general concern is that some of the new vendors are over-hyping claims for their product's performance.

Mobile operators expect that new and incumbent microwave backhaul vendors will eventually be able to address their concerns, but for the time being backhaul is likely to be a significant roadblock on the road to small cell deployment. In iGR's opinion, the microwave backhaul industry has significant work to do to realize the full potential and meet the goals expected of it.

iGR's new market research report, Microwave Backhaul Issues for Small Cells, provides an analysis of the issues involved, the technologies and approaches available, and a forecast for microwave backhaul in the U.S. market.

The following key questions are addressed in the new research study:

  • What is the anticipated growth of microwave backhaul in the U.S. through 2016?
  • How do the major mobile operators view microwave backhaul?
  • What are the major concerns of the mobile operators with regard to microwave backhaul?
  • How can these concerns be addressed?
  • What is the role for microwave backhaul in small cell architectures?
  • How is microwave backhaul deployed?
  • What are the attractions and drawbacks of microwave backhaul for the mobile operators?
  • How do PtP, PMP, hybrid, millimeter wave and traditional microwave solutions differ?
  • How does microwave backhaul compare to fiber backhaul?

The information in this report will be valuable for:

  • Cellular carriers, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Mobile backhaul providers, including telcos and cable MSOs
  • Microwave backhaul vendors and solution providers
  • Mobile OEMs, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Wireless infrastructure vendors, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Financial and investment analysts

The new report can be purchased and downloaded directly from iGR's website at Alternatively, contact Iain Gillott at (512) 263-5682 or at for additional details.

About iGR

iGR is a market strategy consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile communications industry. Founded by Iain Gillott, one of the wireless industry's leading analysts, in late 2000 as iGillottResearch, iGR is now entering its twelfth year of operation. iGR continuously researches emerging and existent technologies, technology industries, and consumer markets. We use our detailed research to offer a range of services to help companies improve their position in the marketplace, clearly define their future direction, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

iGR researches a range of wireless and mobile products and technologies, including: smartphones; tablets; mobile applications; bandwidth demand and use; small cell architectures; DAS; LTE; WiMAX; VoLTE; IMS; NFC; GSM/GPRS/UMTS/HSPA; CDMA 1x/EV-DO; iDEN; SIP; macro-, pico- and femtocells; mobile backhaul; WiFi and WiFi offload; and SIM and UICC.

A more complete profile of the company can be found at

Contact Information

  • Contact iGR
    Iain Gillott
    (512) 263-5682
    Email Contact