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MM-Wave Comms: A $500 million market within 5 years?

I received a message a few days ago from my friend, Jonathan Wells, and with his kind permission am reprinting it below. Millimeterwave communications has been a long time interest of mine and I pioneered FCC regulation in this area. It is interesting to note that 20 years ago traditionally oriented staffers at FCC tried to block my mmW initiative because no one was asking for it!

In just the last month, we have had two analysts give bold forecasts for the
60 GHz, 70/80 GHz and even 90 GHz millimeter-wave markets. Are these
predictions justified, or are they just (backhaul) pipe dreams?

Analyst's forecast $500+ million millimeter-wave market

In early November, Visant Strategies forecast that revenue from 60 GHz and
70/80 GHz PTP radios will reach over $500 million in 2016, with growth in
the 70/80 GHz space driven by mobile backhaul. Visant says that HSPA+,
WiMAX and LTE base stations and aggregation points will be requiring Gbps
speeds in dense urban areas, growing the mm-wave market five-fold over the
next six years. 60 GHz radio shipments will also grow at the same rate, but
driven by private enterprise and government networks, particularly public
safety wireless networks.

Just a week later, Infonetics Research released a more bullish prediction -
70/80 GHz and 90 GHz PTP equipment will grow to over $450 million by 2014.
Similarly, Infonetics also sees growth from mobile backhaul applications, as
4G network deployments drive demand for higher data capacities in higher
cell density metro areas. Interestingly, Infonetics also sees a role for 90
GHz "W-band" equipment, which is surprising since this is a severely
restricted and difficult to use band.

Is a half-billion dollar market realistic?

Definitely! But a number of factors need to happen for the current mm-wave
comms market of less than $50 million to grow ten-fold within 5 years - a) a
second anchor tenant after Clearwire needs to emerge and adopt this
technology, b) equipment vendors will need to embrace the ETSI / CEPT rules
and bandplans, and c) ongoing product innovation will be needed to ensure
millimeter-wave equipment offers compelling value beyond just high data

With the microwave PTP backhaul market at over $5 billion, and just about
all top microwave vendors announcing partnerships or interest in
millimeter-wave backhaul products, it is clear that with the right
opportunities and drivers, a future $500 million market is quite feasible.

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