A question we commonly hear is “What does the future hold for the DAS market?”
Obviously, the wireless industry in general is growing and will continue to do so. The most visible segment of that expansion is the consumer sector, including smartphones, tablets, accessories, apps, and content. The DAS industry has largely remained behind the scene and inconspicuous to the average wireless consumer.
As a modern society we have become dependent on wireless communication. Smartphones aren’t our only communication device, but they serve as a hub for entertainment and our social and professional lives. They make life more convenient. Tasks such as navigation, mobile banking, and video conferencing were hard to accomplish on your wireless device a few short years ago. Now they are reality.
The convenience offered by these wireless devices create a dependency on them. For many of us the wireless bill is the last one we’ll default on, once basic utilities are paid. None of us want to part with our smartphones or experience interrupted service. Such devotion creates tremendous opportunity for the wireless and DAS industries. Wireless operators continue investing in infrastructure to support growing demand, while DAS vendors happily pitch in.
Depending on your source, the US wireless industry is valued at more than $200 Billion and has more than 300 million wireless subscribers. China and India surpass the US in terms of the sheer number of wireless users, but US wireless networks comprise more than 50% of the world’s 4G/LTE deployments. That means US wireless users enjoy higher speed and consume more bandwidth. Countries like Japan and South Korea may have higher quality networks with more consistent coverage but their market size is much smaller than the US market. Even so, the US is gradually surpassing these markets in terms of performance and density.
Within a few years, the smartphone penetration rate will exceed 90% in the US. Those last holdouts will soon discard their flip phones and replace them with shiny new smartphones. 3G only phones will need to be upgraded to 4G/LTE compatible devices as will all wireless enabled tablets. This capacity demand will not ease until everyone is streaming 3D video on their wireless devices, which is the maximum benchmark of bandwidth requirement as of today. We’re confident there will be another benchmark to upgrade to tomorrow.
Years of infrastructure development and billions more investments dollars by wireless carriers are ahead of us. The DAS Market is still in its infancy. We are experiencing the beginnings of hockey-stick type growth. Such sustained growth is not only projected but almost a given considering our infatuation with gadgets that take our photos and send them wirelessly to our friends. The price for such luxury comes in the form of our wireless phone bills, which we abidingly, albeit grudgingly, pay.