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Warning: sharp growth ahead!

Wireless infrastructure and component manufacturers for personal communications services should expect unprecedented growth during the next five years, says a report from Allied Business Intelligence.

The growth in component technology, leading to tighter integration and stronger DSPs, will lead to even smaller base stations.

ABI says it raised subscriber and infrastructure predictions from several months ago because of the liberalization of foreign markets and the containment of the Asian fiscal crisis, which was expected to have a much larger negative impact on the world economy.

By 2002, there will be 429 million wireless subscribers according to the ABI moderate forecast, and 777 million according to the aggressive forecast.

Global system for mobile communications systems (GSM) will continue to dominate, the report says, with code division multiple access (CDMA) technology accounting for the second highest amount of subscribers and deployed infrastructure.

Time division multiple access (TDMA) will have a singularly strong showing in North America, mainly due to AT&T's national network in the U.S. Emerging markets such as Eastern Europe and Latin America will become a mixture of CDMA and GSM infrastructure.


Meanwhile, a recent Yankee Group report, Global Trends of Cellular/PCS Markets, says worldwide wireless growth will continue unabated through at least 2002. In 1995, global mobile telephony subscribers stood at 85.3 million. The Yankee Group believes that by the end of 1997 the number had risen to 198.5 million and will hit 529 million by 2002.

The 25.9% compound annual growth rate for 1996-2002 is triple what is expected on the landline side. This translates into global cellular/PCS service revenues expanding from $87.2 billion in 1996 to $313.2 billion in 2002.

"The impact of this is significant," says Mark Lowenstein, vice president of the Yankee Group's Global Wireless/Mobile Communications program. "While global wireline teledensity only rises to 18.6% in 2002 from 13.1% in 1996, we predict that global wireless teledensity will grow by a factor of four, from 2.3% in 1996 to 8.3% in 2002."


On a related note, a survey by Business Research Group (BRG) says the U.S. wireless LAN market is expected to grow nearly four-fold in the next three years, from $210 million in 1997 to $800 million by the year 2000.

"We based these projections on the rising demand for technology predicted by current and future users," senior analyst Fran Firth says in the report, 1997/1998 Wireless LAN Market Update. "In 1997, domestic wireless LAN business represented approximately 70% of the worldwide market.

"As sales overseas continue to grow in the coming years, we expect to see a slight shift toward decreased U.S. sales," Firth says. "We also predict that worldwide wireless LAN market shipments will grow from $496 million in 1997 to just over $2 billion in 2001."


The marketplace has 104 new local multipoint distribution service (LMDS) players after the government's auction in the 28 and 31 GHz bands this spring. The auction, which raised $578.7 million, represents the largest amount of spectrum the Federal Communications Commission had auctioned.

Because of the amount of spectrum to be licensed, LMDS will offer more capacity than is currently available from existing wireless services. The fixed, broadband point-to-multipoint microwave service has the potential to promote competition in both the local telephone and cable television marketplaces--it may be used, for example, for wireless telephony, data, Internet access, and video.

"LMDS operators have the potential of being the next serious players offering real competition in the local loop," says FCC Chairman William E. Kennard.

For more information on ABI, call 516-624-3113 or visit www.allied; for BRG, call 617-5584580; for the Yankee Group, visit


LMDS network gets real-life test

The LMDS Multimedia Dallas Showcase, said to be the first multi-media local multipoint distribution services network with actual customers, is operating in Irvine, Texas, through September.

It's presented through the efforts of Bosch Telecom, Frazier/King Media, Newbridge Networks, Hewlett-Packard Co., Stonehouse Technologies, SBA Communications Corp., TDI, Virtual Information Systems, General Instrument, WorldCom, and Learnstar.

The showcase will highlight, advanced broadband services, incorporating competitive local exchange carrier telephony, high-speed data and multi-channel video services, and demonstrating the platform for other digital services, including videoconferencing, telemedicine, and distance learning applications.

Services will be demonstrated in different environments, including a small office/home office, a doctor's office, and a classroom.

The event "will demonstrate a network and operations infrastructure that can deliver the most advanced and cost-effective wireless telephony, data, and video services to businesses and residences," says Ed Cantwell, president and CEO of Bosch Telecom.

For appointments to tour the showcase, call 800-296-4268 or visit

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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Industry Trend or Event; Allied Business Intelligence, Yankee Group reports cite global trends in cellular and PCS markets
Publication:Communications News
Date:May 1, 1998
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