4.3-10 on the Way to Number 1
It’s rare for a new product to establish itself in the market so quickly. But the success story of the 4.3-10 connector system has been truly sensational, and it can now be regarded as the new standard in mobile communications.
When 4.3-10 was introduced to the market in the summer of 2013, no one expected it to be such a big success. Admittedly, it was initiated by major manufacturers, it was the first connector system to be specifically designed for the mobile communications market, and it was the first to be jointly designing by several companies. But despite these initial advantages, there was no way to predict how it would develop.
This can now be summarized as follows:
2013: Launch of the system; distribution of the first samples
2014: Testing by system operators and trial use in antennas and base stations
2015: Rollout of the first antennas and base stations; the first DAS project with 4.3-10
2016: First significant deliveries of 4.3-10 connectors and jumpers
2017: Start of large-scale rollout
The mobile communications market was previously dominated by the 7-16 and N connector systems. But 7-16 is too large to support the miniaturization of antennas and base stations. And although N is smaller, it is neither robust nor PIM-stable enough to meet the requirements of today’s mobile communication networks. Most new antennas and base stations have therefore been equipped with 4.3-10 since last year.
25% of all connectors are now 4.3-10.
4.3-10 has been growing rapidly for two years. The volumes sold by SPINNER tripled between 2016 and 2017, and 4.3-10 now accounts for 25% of the connectors that are installed or used on jumpers. If this trend continues, by the spring of 2018 4.3-10 will have a market share equal to that of N and it will pull even with 7-16 during the further course of the year. This trend isn’t only being driven by antennas and base stations, but also by the widespread launch of other products integrating 4.3-10 connectors, such as combiners and splitters. It’s a fact that every major manufacturer has already added products with 4.3-10 connections to its portfolio.
The figure for adapters is even higher, at 33%.
4.3-10 adapters are following the same trajectory. During transitional periods, when a wide range of mobile communication components are installed with different connector systems, the share of adapters is expected to be larger. At SPINNER, meanwhile, a third of all adapters and jumpers sold now have 4.3-10. Customers are mainly taking advantage of the possibility of flexibly configuring their own jumpers using sales article numbers. This system makes it easy for the cable type and length and the connectors used to be specified and supplied as required.
85% of all 4.3-10 jumpers are being used as adapters.
For about two years now, it has been especially popular to use jumpers with different connectors, since this eliminates the need for coaxial adapters and results in cheaper and better connections. Currently, 85% of all 4.3-10 jumpers are fitted with 4.3-10 on one end and 7-16 or N on the other. The other 15% of jumpers are now used in networks in which both the antennas and the base stations are equipped with 4.3-10.
What will happen next?
The market share of 4.3-10 will definitely increase as more mobile communication networks are modernized. But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the figures given above refer to SPINNER’s yearly sales and not to the total number of components installed. Where this is concerned, 7-16 and N remain in the lead, although their importance will gradually diminish over time. It remains to be seen whether 4.3-10 will achieve the volume of 7-16, since the miniaturization trend is still continuing and, driven by small cells and DAS, even smaller new components are once again appearing in the market, thus creating a need for even tinier connector systems. And these are already waiting at the gate ready for the race to start. You can read more about them in our next newsletter.