The world market for stationary batteries used in telecommunication applications is forecast to grow by $550 million from 2013 to 2017, according to recent findings from IHS. This growth is driven largely by increasing demands for reserve power for VDSL outside-plant cabinets and expansion in telecommunications central offices, both of which are predicted to offset a decline in demand from macro base stations. Rapid anticipated growth in LTE networks and data communications is projected to drive the market to $3 billion in 2017.
The stationary battery market for reserve power in telecommunications is fairly mature. Strong growth over the last decade was driven by demand for new macro cellular base station installations. Whilst this trend continues in developing regions, the report from IHS, “The World Market for Stationary Batteries”, predicts an annual decline in demand for stationary batteries used in base stations from 2015. This is due to a predicted annual reduction in the number of macro-type base stations as demand accelerates for micro-, pico- and femto-type base stations, which do not require a large amount of reserve power. Additional antennas at base station locations are also likely to share existing macro base station reserve power resources.
Strong growth in the demand for stationary batteries is, however, forecast for other important parts of this sector.
While IHS isre predicting a slight decline in demand for batteries for base stations from 2015, the continued increase in demand for advances in cellular and broadband communications is projected to drive strong growth in reserve power for central office and cable TV (CATV)/broadband head-end and outside-plant back-up installations. The CATV/outside-plant market alone is forecast to generate an additional $600 million from 2013 to 2017.
Although lead-acid batteries - mostly valve-regulated (VRLA) types - will account for almost all stationary battery revenues in telecommunication applications in 2013, this shift in demand is also predicted to drive adoption of lithium-ion batteries in this sector. It is predicted that some central offices will be unable to expand and add the additional physical space required to meet the reserve power demands of LTE and data communication network expansion. Medium- and large-format lithium-ion stationary batteries, although more expensive, offer the advantage of a smaller footprint and therefore can provide a solution. IHS forecasts a phased adoption, however; with central offices adding strings of lithium-ion batteries to existing installations as needed, rather than a mass transition. A market for lithium-ion stationary batteries in telecommunication applications worth $40 million is projected in 2017.