Study: Backhaul radio spend down in Q3

Operators are supposed to be busting up their piggy banks to upgrade their backhaul networks in anticipation of increased 3G and eventual 4G data traffic, but a new study from Infonetics shows that one of the key backhaul equipment sectors, microwave radios, was down 8% in the third quarter. The global microwave market brought in $1.4 billion, half of which went to Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and NEC, according to Infonetics.

Despite the dip, Infonetics said the microwave sector is still strong driven by capacity upgrades for HSPA+ and LTE and the transition from TDM to Ethernet backhaul links. In an earlier study Infonetics projected that the overall backhaul market will increase 60% in 2009. In the US microwave backhaul is still a small business as most operators rely on T1, and increasingly fiber, links. But there has been some activity of late. Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) is building 90% of backhaul and aggregation networks using microwave radios from Motorola (NYSE:MOT), DragonWave (TSE:DWI) and others.

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