Optical/IP Networks

Startups Fuel Market Recovery

The market for cellular infrastructure equipment may be on its way back, but it won’t be the usual vendor names reaping all the revenue rewards, according to results of Unstrung’s latest poll: Feel the Love.

A majority 81 percent of respondents believe the downturn is at last over, strengthening vendor belief that carriers are once more investing in the future of their networks (see Wireless Kit Back From the Dead, Nokia Sees Network Boost, and Christmas Capex Cheer?).

Despite the possible turnaround, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), LM Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY), and friends won’t be breaking out the Champagne just yet. Instead, the likes of startups Flarion Technologies, IPWireless Inc.Navini Networks Inc., and ArrayComm Inc. may feel inclined to don wry smiles.

The favored technology to drive the comeback is forecast to be equipment based on broadband wireless access and WiMax standards, raking in 45 percent of the vote. Such conviction confirms both recent vendor activity in this space and the results of a previous Unstrung poll (see BWA Takes the Honors, IPWireless Strikes Double Deal, Nextel Gets Flashier With Flarion, and Intel's Got WiMax Headroom).

The more "traditional" 3G flavors of CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and Wideband-CDMA fare less well, winning only 20 percent and 35 percent respectively.

Startup vendors are also tipped to expand their presence in the wireless infrastructure market. Forty-five percent of respondents claim that the equipment market is open to further players if the startup has “better technology” than incumbent offerings, while 38 percent believe there is room “for very specific niche players.”

Only 17 percent of readers argue that the big boys have the market already sown up.

Meanwhile key market growth is forecast to come from both the Americas (43 percent) and Asia/Pacific (36 percent), with Europe scoring only 19 percent.

Our new February poll tackles the hype surrounding Push-to-Talk services -- a technology with real user demand or the latest overhyped turkey? Have your say here: PTT: Over and Out?.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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