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Test equipment market fired up with LTE

Posted: 01 Aug 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE  test equipment  telecommunication 

Frost & Sullivan finds that the global LTE test equipment market generated revenues of Rs.4,157.38 crore ($760.8 million) in 2011 and is estimated to reach $2,845.6 million ($2,845.6 million) in 2018.

Burgeoning mobile traffic due to the availability of high-speed networks along with the increased penetration of smartphones and connected devices such as laptops, netbooks, notebooks and tablets; as well as the use of higher bandwidth-consuming applications and services is pushing the deployment of long-term evolution (LTE) technology. This is expected to create numerous opportunities for wireless test equipment vendors, according to Frost & Sullivan.

With new smartphones and platforms such as Apple's iPhone and Google's Android entering the market, the number of applications that deliver a wide range of capabilities, such as viewing photos, playing music, watching movies and gaming, has increased significantly. The need for speed and more bandwidth is compelling telecom service providers (SPs) to deploy 4G technologies. Currently, most countries use Global System for Mobile communications (GSM)-based networks. LTE is the natural progression for these networks and can generate better economies of scale for carriers.

Currently, LTE deployments underway globally are backward-compatible with existing GSM and code division multiple access (CDMA), Wi-Fi and WiMAX offerings. Its scalable bandwidth, from 1.25MHz to 20MHz, allows SPs to offer more voice, data, and services in a given bandwidth, improving average revenue per user and reducing operating expenses. The current deployments, though, will not offer 4G speeds, but this will eventually be enabled through in LTE Advanced (LTE-A).

Even as LTE is deployed in large cities, smaller cities will continue to operate on Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+), towns will employ Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), and rural areas will continue operating on GSM, all on the same network. The multiple standards operating parallel with LTE are expected to create complex technical issues that need to be addressed, making interconnectivity with legacy networks a challenge.

"This presents a key challenge for wireless test equipment vendors," said Frost & Sullivan Programme Manager Olga Yashkova. They must ensure that the LTE devices work seamlessly with legacy networks, in addition to guaranteeing compliance with the latest LTE standards."

The complexity associated with LTE testing, combined with the application-specific demands of customers, has resulted in limited availability of LTE testing tools that meet the varying testing needs. Multiple types of test equipment and technologies for applications such as research and development, manufacturing, installation and maintenance, as well as monitoring are likely to advance the growth of the overall LTE test equipment market.

"As LTE is still a new technology with only a few SPs deploying it globally, end-users will prefer purchasing backward- and forward-compatible testing tools for future use and LTE trials," said Yashkova. "In addition, the trend towards integrated test equipment, such as one-box testers, is expected to continue with the higher price-to-performance ratio."

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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