Infonetics: Mobile Infrastructure Market Declines, while Mobile M2M Spending was Up 25% year-over-year

Infonetics Research released excerpts from its 1st quarter 2013 (1Q13) 2G, 3G, 4G Mobile Infrastructure and Subscribers report, which tracks 2G, 3G, LTE, and WiMAX network equipment and subscribers.


.    In 1Q13, the worldwide 2G/3G/4G mobile infrastructure market totaled $9.8 billion, down 9% sequentially, and down 2% year-over-year, despite another LTE ramp-up driven by North America and Europe
.    LTE revenue was $2.7 billion in 1Q13, an increase of 21% quarter-over-quarter and 108% year-over-year, though Infonetics believes an appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Japanese Yen erased at least 5% of revenue
.    WiMAX continued its decline, dropping 42% in 1Q13 from the previous quarter    

.    After dragging down 4Q12, the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are shaping up as a major engine for 2013; case in point: Brazil added to the 1Q13 revenue mix when its 4 mobile operators kicked off LTE rollouts
.    Ericsson remains king of the RAN, with double the revenue market share of #2 Nokia Siemens Networks
.    Infonetics expects 3G RAN to continue to be greater than GSM moving forward solely driven  by W-CDMA
.    Global mobile subscribers are forecast by Infonetics to reach 7 billion by 2017, with LTE subscribers making up just 8% of total subscribers



“We are clearly seeing the broad shift to LTE and its direct effect on 2G, 3G, and WiMAX,” notes Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research. “Typically strong 2G and 3G
markets, China in particular, did not come to the rescue this time around. In fact, China and Russia had a busy 1Q13 selecting LTE vendors. Life without LTE would be hell!”

Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and carrier WiFi at Infonetics, adds: “LTE is the highlight of our long-term 2G/3G/4G infrastructure forecast, growing at a 16% CAGR over the 5 years from 2012 to 2017.”

AW Comment:  Despite all the pundit predictions that wireless telco infrastructure spending would increase, due to more LTE and 3G+ deployments with small cells, it hasn’t.  Not even close! The contracting wireless network equipment market has led vendors such as NSN and  Alcatel-Lucent to restructure and revamp their business focuses.  That means asset sales and more downsizing (will it ever end?).

Our previous post indicated that NSN was up for sale, as co-owner Siemens has reportedly  approached private equity companies to discuss NSN’s possible sale.  Nokia has been reported to be interested in buying the wireless gear company.

Just this past week, Alcatel-Lucent announced it’s cutting costs (yet again), is shifting its focus more toward LTE and small cells, and decreasing investments in legacy wireless technologies. The plan is aimed at producing cost savings of about $1.34  billion as well as another $1.34 billion gain from unspecified asset sale.  The proposals are the biggest corporate  overhaul of the group since the $13.4bn merger of France’s Alcatel and Lucent of  the US in 2006, according to the Financial Times which wrote that it is likely to lead to more than 10,000 job cuts, from an employee base of more than 70,000, according to estimates by analysts.  Alcatel-Lucent’s market capitalization, at €3.3bn, has slid 80% since the merger between the two telecom equipment titans in 2006.  What does that tell you about the health of the industry?

Infonetics’ quarterly 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE) report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, analysis, deployment trackers, and forecasts through 2017 for 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE), and WiMAX mobile network equipment and subscribers. The report tracks more than 50 subsegments of the market, including radio access networks (RAN), base transceiver stations (BTSs), mobile softswitching, packet core equipment, and E-UTRAN macrocells. Vendors tracked:
Airspan, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Cisco, Datang Mobile, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Genband, HP, Huawei, NEC, NewNet, Nokia Siemens Networks, Proxim, Redline Communications, Samsung, UTStarcom, ZTE, and others.


  • The global mobile M2M module market scaled to a new level in 2012, reaching $1.5 billion – an increase of 25% from the previous year
  • While 2G technologies make up the majority of mobile M2M units now, 3G M2M is on the rise, forecast by Infonetics to grow to 56% of all M2M modules shipped in 2017
  • LTE is the fastest growing mobile M2M technology segment, driven by connected car initiatives such as GM’s OnStar, China Mobile’s massive LTE-TDD network buildout, and the Chinese government’s smart cities efforts
  • Infonetics projects a cumulative $2.6 billion will be spent over the next 5 years on mobile M2M modules for the auto/transport/logistics vertical, the key anchor for the M2M market
  • North America and Europe are currently the main centers of mobile M2M module growth, but Asia Pacific has the fastest anticipated rate of growth due to a highly diversified economic base that creates a stratified market for M2M solutions
  • Infonetics expects the next 18 to 36 months to bring further vendor consolidation and vetting of business models to the mobile M2M module industry


Commenting on the growth in Mobile M2M (which impacts mobile infrastructure), Godfrey Chua, Infonetics’ directing analyst for M2M said:  “To put things in perspective, the mobile M2M module is just one of many technology solutions available for M2M services, one that represents less than 15% of active M2M connections today. Mobile M2M modules compete against myriad other technology solutions that enable M2M services, including DSL and T1 lines as well as wireless technologies like WiFi, Zigbee and Bluetooth.” 

Chua continues: “Mobile operators are deploying more M2M solutions and enterprises and consumers are increasingly adopting them across the globe, creating a robust outlook for the overall M2M services market, as well as the mobile M2M module market. Many mobile operators are putting a sharp focus on and real resources behind their M2M businesses, and it’s beginning to pay off. That one of the global leaders, AT&T, can speak of a billion-dollar business in this segment demonstrates the traction and growth that M2M services are experiencing.”


Infonetics’ mobile M2M modules report provides worldwide and regional market size, forecasts through 2017, analysis, and trends for mobile M2M modules (units, revenue, ARPU) by technology and vertical (utilities/smart grid, automotive/transport/logistics, security/surveillance, retail/vending, healthcare, other).

The report includes a Customer Wins tracker with updates on activity by equipment manufacturers including Brightsky, Cinterion, Encore Networks, Gemalto, Huawei, Mesh Systems, Multi-tech Systems, Novatel Wireless, nPhase, Quake Global, Sierra Wireless/Sagemcom, Simcon Wireless, Skywave and Telit. Service providers and enterprises noted include Aeria, Ambient, AT&T, Digital Communications, du, EDMI, Geacom, Ground Lab, M2M Data Corporation, Motorola, Numerex, Orbcomm, Pomdevices, PositiveID, Redtail Telematics, Rogers Wireless, SK Telecom, Softbank, Sprint, Telstra, Verizon Wireless and others.

To buy these report, contact Infonetics: