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Base station antennas: Rising 3G deployment drives line

The industry is poised to boom, thanks to beefed up investment in telecom infrastructure and strong government support.

China suppliers of base station antennas are optimistic about the growth in the next 12 months after the government granted 3G licenses to three telcos in 1H09. With it, China is expected to be at par with other countries that have already deployed the technology.

Base station antenna
  Guanhua Communication's model GHD5800P29A60 base station antenna has a 4.9 to 5.8GHz frequency range, 50ohm impedance and circular polarization.
Domestic companies' clients include telecom carriers and device suppliers such as Huawei and ZTE. The latter is currently the second-largest global provider of CDMA network equipment, and is projected to become the biggest by 2010 according to Frost & Sullivan. It was the top CDMA base station volume supplier from 2006 to 2008, and had an accumulated global shipment of 200,000 CDMA base stations in 1H09.

Mobile network operators within the country are rapidly building their 3G networks. China Mobile has fi nished its TD-SCDMA network in 10 cities and was already providing 3G services before the Beijing Olympic Games. By year-end, it is expected to render the same in at least 28 additional cities.

China Unicom, another domestic mobile network operator, is building a WCDMA network in 55 cities and will be providing 3G services as well.

These developments come amid an In-Stat report that predicts base station antenna sales to slow because of the global economic recession. Further, In-Stat projects business to pick up only after three years during which numerous telcos would have invested heavily in 3G upgrades.

China suppliers, however, remain unfazed and are even planning on expansion.

Mobi Antenna Technologies (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd, a major industry player, said sales have more than doubled in the past few years.

Other suppliers, including Comba, Xi'an Haitian, Shenglu Antenna and Kenbotong, are currently exporting 20 percent of their output average. They expect overseas sales to increase in coming years.

Meanwhile, Andrew Solutions is broadening its Suzhou manufacturing and distribution center. The company plans to employ an additional 400 people. It is a division of CommScope and is a key provider of wireless communication systems and products globally.

Diverse antenna selection
Taiwan: New technologies propel line
Diverse antenna selection

Most China makers release base station antennas under OEM or ODM contracts, but major companies also offer products under their own brands.

Many suppliers have more than 12 years of experience in development and production, enabling them to turn out CDMA, GSM, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and CDMA2000 models. Some also produce Wi-Fi and WiMAX units. Foshan Lanbowan Communications Ltd, for one, believes WiMAX will be an important wireless technology in the next few years.

China-made base station antennas work in different frequencies. CDMA types, for instance, include 450 and 800MHz units. GSM versions can work in 900, 1,800 and 1,900MHz frequency bands.

The main product development trend is enhancing ease of installation, resulting in designs customized according to different types of terrain.

In addition, suppliers are moving toward miniaturization, which addresses many installation problems. Makers are also starting to integrate amplifiers into their models.

Base station antennas from China are priced from $40 to $200 depending on the type and shape of the model, materials and components used, and distance coverage.

Taiwan: New technologies propel line

Taiwan's shipments of base station antennas have been on an upswing in the past two years, driven by the rapid adoption of 3G worldwide. Companies are projecting further growth in coming years, spurred by the emergence of new standards such as LTE and WiMAX.

Makers in the island offer antennas in a range of bandwidths. Models are available in standard and customized designs.

Joymax Electronics Co. Ltd, for instance, has small and large versions. The company can also supply embedded antenna modules for portable electronics devices.

The supplier adopts fi berglass for water and UV resistance. Its models have IP66 rating. Joymax sees patch antennas for base station use and marine antennas as niche product lines.

The company can supply dual-band versions for WiMAX, ranging from 2.5 to 2.7 and 3.3 to 3.8GHz. Delivery time for customized models is at most three weeks, while standard units take about seven days.

More than 100 makers in Taiwan offer antennas for mobile phones, WLANs, GPS devices and TVs although fewer than 20 deal in base station models.

Suppliers, including Joymax, Chang Hong, SOCAA and RF Castle, are mostly based in northern Taiwan. Many have more than 10 years of manufacturing and design experience.

They have in-house testing chamber and fi eld-testing equipment that help ensure the compatibility and stability of fi nished products.

Taiwan-made base station antennas are exported to Western Europe, the US and Asia. The Middle East, South America and Eastern Europe are future targets.

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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