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2015 to be a challenging year for operators procuring LTE equipment

London - 24 April 2015

Research from Current Analysis finds that combining potential industry consolidation with the aggressive development of features that bridge the gap between 4G and 5G will give operators more to consider as they embark on new LTE roll-outs.

According to research from Current Analysis, vendors are now actively launching initiatives aimed at providing a bridge between today’s 4G technology and 5G wireless which is not expected to launch until 2020. On the other hand, new challenges related to latency-sensitive Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, spectrum scarcity and network densification demands mean that operators making investments today need to consider hurdles that were less apparent even a year ago. Operators need to actively prioritise near-term network demands against the long-term technology commercialisation roadmaps of the market's vendors.

Peter Jarich, VP of Consumer and Infrastructure at Current Analysis , says: “Across the globe, operators need to begin evaluating new wireless network purchases and network upgrades in terms of their support for features that reach beyond today's LTE-A. It’s no exaggeration to say that today’s investments can set the stage for tomorrow’s 5G services and technologies." For that to be a reality, however, operators need to think about near-term purchases within the context of long-term network evolutions. If nothing else, the inclusion of pre-5G evolution support as part of RFP efforts could help with deal negotiation.

Vendor consolidation could introduce a seismic shift

Nokia’s recent announcement of its intention to purchase Alcatel-Lucent, while far from certain, could also help to complicate the 2015 procurement landscape, whether or not the deal ultimately closes in 2016. At a minimum, vendors considering either Nokia or Alcatel-Lucent equipment need to consider what impact the merger will have on how the company plans to evolve its LTE portfolio going forward. Beyond that, however, competing LTE vendors will undoubtedly be seeking to muddle operator thinking on their procurement decisions by aggressively highlighting these product uncertainties and potentially even competing more fiercely with attractive deal terms to exploit uncertainties to grab market share.

Edward Gubbins, senior analyst at Current Analysis, says: “The high degree of RAN product overlap will, at best, require time-consuming rationalisation, likely slow development and time-to-market moves in the near term and stoke fear among customers of discontinued products.”

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All information in this release is based on Current Analysis' Telecom Equipment Buyer service.'

Aggressive developments on the road to 5G will give MNOs more to consider as they embark on new LTE roll-outs.

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Please get in contact if you have any questions to this or other Current Analysis reports. Analysts are available to comment. Contact Verena Niederacher at the Current Analysis press office on +44 (0) 207 936 6536 or email .


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