Enterprise small cells to catch up with DAS by 2016

August 27, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
​The enterprise small cell market is roughly one-third of the DAS (distributed antenna systems) market today, however, with the growing popularity of small cells as a coverage option for small to medium enterprise, it will catch up with DAS by the 2016 timeframe.

According to ABI Research, both DAS and enterprise small cell equipment will each reach the $2 billion mark by 2016. Both markets are growing at a steady rate with DAS continuing to see deployments in large and medium sized public buildings, mostly above 150,000 square feet. However enterprise small cells will see most of their deployments in smaller buildings below 100,000 square feet.

Aditya Kaul, practice director, mobile networks at ABI Research says that, “DAS vendors seem more aware about small cells now than they were a few years back. While most DAS vendors don’t really see small cells as a threat today, the smart ones are beginning to open up to small cells and realize that small cells are here to stay.”

Kaul adds, “While enterprise small cells are mostly going to sit separate from DAS in two non-overlapping building segments, the trend of public access small cells which are targeted at public spaces like airports, shopping malls, hotels, and even stadiums could see some revenue moving away from DAS. But most likely we will see an intersection of the two technologies where DAS is fed by small cells especially in medium sized buildings.”

As per ABI Research’s estimates, in 2017 DAS systems will largely be driven by traditional macro base stations, repeaters, and remote radio heads. But close to one-fourth of DAS systems will be fed with small cells as they are easier to install, smaller in size, and cheaper than other solutions.