Market Insight

RESEARCH NOTE - Carrier WiFi Equipment Market to Reach $1.5 Billion by 2020

May 05, 2016

Richard Webb Richard Webb Director – Research and Analysis, Service Provider Technology

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IHS Technology analysis and commentary on the first half (H1) 2016 Carrier WiFi Equipment Biannual Market Tracker, which includes data for the half-year ended December 2015, follows. 


The global carrier WiFi equipment market totaled $713 million in 2015. The market has grown consistently year-over-year since 2007, initially due to the proliferation of WiFi as a hotspot service, but increasingly driven by a diverse customer base and technologies including Hotspot 2.0, 802.11ac and network functions virtualization (NFV).

Technology innovations continue to deliver positive impacts on the carrier WiFi market, driving current and next-generation service opportunities. Hotspot 2.0 enables operators to fully integrate WiFi with their existing broadband networks and supports service functions such as WiFi roaming.

WiFi standard 802.11ac, based on 5GHz spectrum, offers higher-than-ever capacities and has rapidly become the dominant standard for carrier WiFi deployments, also driving upgrade purchasing from 802.11n deployments.

And the evolution of NFV, which has already been introduced into the carrier WiFi market by Ruckus Wireless and Cisco, offers the opportunity for more cost-effective WiFi service delivery by a range of service providers as well as enterprises and other organizations.

By 2020, the worldwide carrier WiFi market is forecast to reach $1.5 billion and have a cumulative size of over $6.8 billion for 2016–2020 based on two strong segments: standalone WiFi access points predominantly deployed by fixed-line operators, cable multiple system operators (MSOs) and wireless internet service providers (ISPs), and dual mode WiFi/cellular access points deployed by mobile operators.

More Carrier WiFi Equipment Market Highlights

  • Globally, carrier WiFi equipment revenue totaled $367 million in the second half of 2015 (H2 2015), up 6 percent over the first half of 2015
    (H1 2015)
    • Mobile service providers accounted for the majority of revenue, with large tier-1 multiple network operators (MNOs) such as China Mobile driving volume
    • 802.11ac access points comprised 61 percent of H2 2015 carrier WiFi access point revenue
  • For the full-year 2015, Asia Pacific led the carrier WiFi market in terms of geographical breakdown, ahead of EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), North America and Latin America
  • The top three vendors for carrier WiFi equipment revenue share in 2015 were, in alphabetical order, Cisco, Huawei and Ruckus Wireless


Carrier WiFi Report Synopsis

The IHS biannual carrier WiFi report tracks WiFi equipment deployed by operators in public spaces for wireless internet access. The report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2020, analysis and trends for WiFi hotspot controllers and carrier WiFi access points (WiFi hotspot access points, SIM-based WiFi access points, dual-mode 3G/WiFi picocells and metrocells, and dual-mode 4G/LTE/WiFi mini eNodeBs). Vendors tracked include Alcatel-Lucent, Aruba Networks, Cisco, Edgewater Wireless, Ericsson, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia, Ruckus Wireless and others.

Research by Market
Mobile & Telecom
Mobile Networks
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