Asia-Pacific Small Cell Tower Market is expected to register a CAGR of 25% over the forecast period 2020 to 2025. Small cell towers deliver a cost-effective solution for filling coverage gaps, growing bandwidth, and getting the networks ready for 5G without the need to build more expensive macro sites.

  • With the increase in the number of mobile data traffic in the region, the demand for advanced telecommunication networks is growing. Emerging network developments needs is expected to boost the market for small cell tower over the forecast period. For instance, in the Asia Pacific, IP traffic will reach 16 Gigabytes per capita in 2020, up from 6 Gigabytes per capita in 2015, according to Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) report.
  • In the current environment, small cells are required for the applications in need of increased bandwidth as well as the increasing number of connected devices and IoT applications. Also, 5G telecom operators are focused on deploying small cell towers under low-frequency band for offering enhanced bandwidth services to the customer. Small Cell Forum forecasts that a total of 1.67 million small cells will be deployed across APAC countries, which will represent 59.7% of global small cell deployments in 2018.
  • Government regulations for the adoption of 5G networks in the region are expected to drive the small cell towers market during the forecast period. For instance, the Indian Telecom Department is planning to make available the harmonized and contiguous spectrum required for deployment of 5G technology.
  • A various partnership between vendors in the area of 5G is also augmenting the need for small cell towers. For instance, In January 2019, TPG Telecom, in partnership with Huawei, placed small cell boxes on power poles across the suburb of Ryde, in the north-west of Sydney, to augment the Australian governments plans for a 5G rollout.
  • Also, China has the highest number of telecom towers in the world, owned by the state-run China Tower Corporation. It has around 1,968,000 towers, and it was estimated that it is leasing over 550,000 towers. Transforming all towers to enable 5G capability is expected to boost the demand for small cell towers for outdoor applications in the country.
  • However, the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the small cell tower market is expected to be significant. In the short term, 5G rollout in several markets will be delayed further, and its services will be the hardest hit. Consumers may not in a position to spend on 5G devices as it is still considered a niche. According to GSMA Intelligence’s consumer survey, currently, the majority of the respondents in most markets had limited interest in upgrading to 5G services.

Key Market Trends

Indoor Application to Have Significant Share

  • Spectrum convergence, in small cell towers deployment, requires network planning to maximize spectrum utilization. There is an increasing deployment of small cell towers for indoor applications. For instance, Ericsson’s collaborated with China Unicom for the largest deployment of the Radio Dot System in Beijing city (at over 500 commercial and residential buildings) to meet the advanced indoor mobile broadband performance requirements demanded by 5G.
  • Moreover, small cell towers for indoor applications are expected to grow significantly over the forecast period, as people spend most of the time indoor due to the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, according to the Ericsson ConsumerLab, people spend 90% of their time indoors, and 60% of the users are unsatisfied with their indoor cellular connectivity.
  • The deployment of indoor small cell towers is more due to its major deployment in public places, such as stadiums, shopping malls, college campuses, and residential buildings. For instance, Samsung Networks is deploying small cells in large volumes for indoor coverage for Reliance Jio, which is expected to have over 99% population coverage in India.
  • With growing urbanization in developing countries in the region, in-depth coverage in urban areas is increasingly complex, and network deployment to meet Mobile Broadband (MBB) data capacity growth is increasingly difficult. For instance, according to the UN World Urbanization Prospects 2018 report, the population residing in urban areas in India was 34%, which is an increase of about three percentage points since the 2011 census.

5G Adoption to Drive the Market Demand

  • Asia Pacific region is the fastest when it comes to 5G adoption, with China being the leader. China granted commercial licenses to four state-owned telecom giants (China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Radio and Television) in June 2019 to start rolling out 5G services, indicating Beijing’s determination to be the global leader in setting up superfast wireless networks.
  • Mergers and acquisitions are driving the adoption of 5G services. At Mobile World Congress 2019, held in Shanghai, Huawei and more than 30 industry partners jointly established an industry alliance in 5G deterministic networking. The establishment is aimed at promoting consensus on industry development and ecosystem building and developing the 5G network, which is expected to drive the demand for small cell tower market.
  • Singapore is planning to roll out commercial 5G services in early 2020 and intends to have at least 50% of the city-state covered with a standalone network by the end of 2022.
  • Similarly, Vietnam is also expected to enhance its telecommunications infrastructure, expand its broadband network, and develop 5G mobile connectivity by the end of 2019. 5G mobile connectivity is a vital component of government Resolution 01, in which the Ministry of Information and Communication will grant test 5G frequencies to operators.
  • All these developments are expected to boost the adoption of 5G services in the region, thus driving the demand for small cell tower market as well.

Competitive Landscape

Asia-Pacific Small Cell Tower Market is moderately competitive in nature. The companies operating in the market are executing mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and product development to introduce new products. Major players include Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Parallel Wireless Inc., Airspan Networks Inc., among others.

  • May 2020 - Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. collaborated with IBM, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and M1 Limited (M1) for Singapore’s first 5G Industry 4.0 trial, to demonstrate the transformative impact of 5G for enterprises and drive the next bound of Singapore’s digital economy.
  • February 2020 - Parallel Wireless, Inc. partnered with Etisalat Group to trial Parallel Wireless 2G, 3G, 4G & 5G OpenRAN across its markets in Asia with the objective of achieving digital transformation with the deployment of best-in-class technologies to support 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G connectivity. OpenRAN controller is the industry only software platform that virtualizes ALL G RAN and core functions (i.e., vBSC for 2G, vRNC for 3G, small cell and core gateways for 4G) to lower the cost of RAN through simplification, automation, and full virtualization of networks.

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