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Ovum is projecting that the mobile backhaul and fronthaul market will grow at a 9.2% CAGR during the 2014–20 period, exceeding $13.2bn by 2020.


  • The widespread transition to LTE is driving unprecedented growth in data traffic on mobile networks around the world. The traffic growth in turn puts tremendous pressure on backhaul networks, which require capacity upgrades to maintain acceptable service levels.
  • Backhaul and fronthaul equipment sales are one of the more important revenue opportunities open to telecom hardware equipment makers in the next five years. This forecast quantifies that opportunity and shows the breakdown by region and technology.
  • 54% of all mobile backhaul spending was for wireless equipment in 2014 compared to fiber optic-based equipment which was 41%. In contrast, the majority of fronthaul in 2014 (82%) was provided by fiber-based equipment.

Features and Benefits

  • Includes mobile backhaul and fronthaul forecasts segmented by region.
  • Includes mobile backhaul forecast by fiber, copper, and wireless segments and mobile fronthaul by fiber and wireless segments.
  • Includes forecast breakdown of mobile backhaul spending by technology.
  • Illustrates mobile backhaul and fronthaul architectures and segments the equipment market for each.

Key questions answered

  • Which regions will experience the highest growth in backhaul and fronthaul equipment sales in the next five years?
  • In which regions or countries is fiber the preferred backhaul medium? Where is microwave preferred?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Ovum's current forecast versus the last forecast

Market segment description

  • Mobile backhaul defined
  • Mobile fronthaul defined
  • Network equipment included in the mobile backhaul and fronthaul forecasts

Mobile backhaul and fronthaul forecast summary

  • Mobile backhaul market is forecasted to exceed $12.1bn by 2020
  • Mobile fronthaul market will grow to $1.1bn by 2020

Results for 2014

  • Global spending on mobile backhaul and fronthaul declined 2% in 2014

Regional forecasts

  • Growth resumes as LTE deployments gather steam

Product group forecasts

  • Fiber is the preferred solution for backhaul, but over half of all spending is for wireless equipment
  • High bandwidth requirements favor fiber as the preferred solution for fronthaul
  • Backhaul technology migrating to Ethernet while fronthaul constrained by the radio interface


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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