"In 2009, shifts in the mobile infrastructure market made it clear that the world continues to move to 3G and that 3G will be primarily W-CDMA-based, with revenue in all segments of the market declining except W-CDMA RAN and packet core equipment (up 59% and 7.4% year-over-year, respectively). Asia carriers are ramping up their remote radio head gear, typified by NTT DoCoMo's recent shift toward LTE-ready, RRH-based, distributed W-CDMA architecture, adding even more fuel to the W-CDMA momentum. 3G is the main focus of the mobile arena, and is spreading fast across the GSM world," explains Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile and FMC infrastructure.
The research firm also noted that sequential growth in the W-CDMA and mobile packet core segments kept the mobile infrastructure market from tanking in 4Q09, dropping just 1.6% from 3Q09.
GSM equipment sales stabilized in 4Q09, down 2.5% from 3Q09, but is down 56% from a year ago (4Q08) as a result of India's postponement of a major upgrade and slowdowns in Africa, Central/Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
In addition, a new trend is emerging: using remote radio head (RRH) equipment to optimize existing W-CDMA networks to smoothly upgrade to LTE, cutting the need for costly eNodeBs
In terms of market share, with the acquisition of Nortel's CDMA business, Ericsson captures even more mobile macrocell RAN equipment market share, finishing above the 40% bar for 2009, while Nokia Siemens Networks takes second and Huawei third for the 2009 calendar year.
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