See 3G Towers Go Up. See Wireless Gear Market Go Down.
By Carlo Longino, Wed Jun 30 23:45:00 GMT 2004

A research firm says after a slight rise in network gear sales this year, the market will decline by about 15% through 2008.

The Yankee Group says global sales of mobile network gear will creep up a single percentage point this year, after a 2-percent increase in 2003, and both the amount carriers will spend on network equipment and the amount vendors charge for it will fall over the next several years. After peaking in 2000 at $54.5 billion, total sales fell to $45.2 billion in 2002, and will drop to $40 billion flat in 2008, it says.

EMEA spending is expected to increase 13.4% this year, but will fall 20% over the following four years, and Yankee Group says North American spending will stay relatively flat, while APAC sales will drop 17 percent over the same time period. It's easy to get carried away with these predictions, and some of them make sense -- obviously Asian and European 3G networks are more built out than those in North America, meaning the bulk of the spending is past -- but it's hard not to see 3G buildouts of US networks, as well as continued growth in emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa not giving vendors a boost over the next several years. There's still a lot of network-building to be done in all those regions.

The analysts say Ericsson is the dominant infrastructure provider, with 29 percent market share, followed by Nokia (13%), Siemens (11%), Motorola (10%) and Lucent and Nortel (both on 9%). The remaining 20 or so percent is scattered among a number of other companies, and Yankee Group says the top players' failure to respond to technological changes could create opportunities for these smaller vendors, like China's Huawei and ZTE, or South Korea's Samsung and LG.