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Infonetics Microwave Survey: NEC still leads but Ericsson gets high marks by network operators!

2012 Infonetics 1Q12 Microwave Equipment-Market Forecast Chart

In its new Microwave Strategies and Vendor Leadership: Global Service Provider Survey, Infonetics Research explores operators’ deployment plans and perceptions of microwave equipment suppliers.   In market share, NEC held the lead in equipment revenue for the first quarter of 2012 with 20%, just ahead of Ericsson; Huawei was 3rd (see pie chart).

“As the microwave equipment market gets more and more crowded and the climate of cash conservatism persists, service providers are looking at different aspects of vendors and their solutions with ever-greater scrutiny,” says Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload, and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics Research.   “For vendors, strategy has become an increasingly slippery slope—they have to grapple with going in with strong technology at a higher-than-average price, or with lower-priced (but potentially lower-rated) technology, or running the risk of being solid but indistinct across the board. Getting it right is a moving target that currently Ericsson hits on bullseye.” Webb added.


  • Ericsson is the highest-rated vendor by operators in 8 out of 10 of the criteria Infonetics asked about in its 2012 microwave survey, compared to finishing 1st in only 1 criterion last year
  • Huawei received high scores from operators in pricing and price-to-performance ratio, as it did in Infonetics’ 2011 microwave survey
  • The portion of operators deploying all-Ethernet microwave is growing significantly, from 19% now to 38% by 2014
  • Short haul, single hop deployment, and 1st-mile mobile backhaul are highly rated applications driving microwave deployments
  • Over 3/4 of surveyed operators use microwave for backhauling mobile traffic in urban areas; 2nd-mile backhaul is also popular
  • 1/3 of microwave links deployed between now and 2014 will be new links, largely driven by the rollout of small cells


For its 38-page Microwave Strategies survey, Infonetics interviewed purchase decision-makers for microwave equipment at 25 independent wireless, incumbent, and competitive operators in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), Asia-Pacific, CaLA (Caribbean and Latin America), and North America. The report explores operator plans for deploying microwave equipment and features a vendor scorecard with service provider ratings of 12 microwave manufacturers (Alcatel-Lucent, Aviat Networks, Ceragon, DragonWave, ECI Telecom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intracom, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks, SIAE, ZTE).

Infonetics Microwave  Service consists of:

Quarterly market size, market share, and forecast service tracks the competitive landscape and growth areas of the microwave equipment market.

Reports are delivered ~60 days after each quarter and include:

  • Market Size, Market Share, and Forecast report in Excel (updated quarterly)
  • Worldwide and regional market size (first quarterly report includes 4Q11 and CY11 actuals + historical data)
  • Worldwide and regional rolling 1-year quarterly forecasts + annual forecasts through CY16
  • Worldwide vendor market share • Customizable pivot tables allowing for ad hoc data comparisons and analysis in tables and charts
  • Market Analysis report in PDF (updated quarterly)
  • Top takeaways, analysis by product category and geography, market share highlights, market drivers, and technology roadmaps
  • Analyst-led conference call with PPT presentation and analyst inquiry time
  • Corporate-wide license
  • Online service portal for fast, easy access to reports, plus metadata for accurate intranet search functionality

To buy the survey, contact Infonetics Research:

Comment: We wonder how much of the microwave transmission market is cellular backhaul and if its share is increasing or decreasing with more carriers promising to deploy fiber to the cell tower (haven’t we heard that one before?)

Author Alan Weissberger

By Alan Weissberger

Alan Weissberger is a renowned researcher in the telecommunications field. Having consulted for telcos, equipment manufacturers, semiconductor companies, large end users, venture capitalists and market research firms, we are fortunate to have his critical eye examining new technologies.

One reply on “Infonetics Microwave Survey: NEC still leads but Ericsson gets high marks by network operators!”

In our recent travels through rural America, Ethernet over fiber seems to be the preferred method for backhaul, at least for independent telcos. I could see, however, how microwave, particularly Ethernet over microwave, would still be a great alternative for those entities that don’t have nearby fiber plant.

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