EJL Wireless Research Reports Global Macrocell BBU Shipments Peaked in 2017, Down 23% in 2018

5G BBU shipments capture 2% share due to initial deployments in U.S., South Korea and China

Huawei edges out Ericsson for Top Position in Overall Rankings and is the clear leader in 5G


Half Moon Bay, CA July 16, 2019:  Shipments of digital baseband units (BBU) experienced the first decline in six years in 2018, according to the latest report from EJL Wireless Research titled “Global Macrocell Baseband Unit Market Analysis and Forecast, 2019-2023 15th Edition.” “The last downturn was in 2011 however the decline in 2018 was 23% compared with the 12% drop back then.

The anticipation or anxiety of 5G spectrum auctions in Europe and software upgrades to LTE-Advanced and NB-IoT contributed to the overall weakness in shipments,” says founder and President, Earl Lum. EJL Wireless Research is forecasting modest growth of 6% for LTE BBU shipments compared with a more than 10x increase for 5G NR BBU shipments, resulting in total BBU shipment growth of 11% for 2019. Our current view for 2020 BBU shipments is for zero growth, with declining LTE BBU shipments being offset by increased 5G NR BBU shipments.

Huawei Technologies regained its leadership position overall for BBU shipments, narrowly edging out Ericsson however Huawei was the clear leader for 5G NR shipments in 2018. Within 5G NR, Samsung Networks was number two in our market share rankings for 2018 due to the demand in South Korea.

“China is the main driver for 5G NR shipments in 2019, followed South Korea, Japan and the United States along with initial deployments in Europe. Despite the current U.S. export ban for Huawei Technologies, we do not see any impact to shipments supporting the further expansion of the 5G commercial trial networks for China Mobile in 2019,” says Lum.

“Regarding massive MIMO 64T64R for 5G NR below 6GHz, besides China we do not see widespread adoption for this configuration and believe that Europe will focus more on 8×8 MIMO using traditional 8T8R RRUs and passive antennas and using the massive MIMO 64T64R solution in a more surgical role,” says Lum. ■

For more information on our detailed reports, consulting services, and design analysis services, contact Earl J. Lum directly at (650) 430-2221 or elum@ejlwireless.com. We invite you to subscribe to our Email Updates, or meet with us at upcoming wireless conferences and events. Discover why EJL Wireless Research is the preferred choice for wireless market intelligence.



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