The development of Open Radio Access network (Open RAN) is gaining momentum. Network operators, new entrants, system integrators, and application developers are working together to unlock the traditional integrated telco supply chain, which has up to now been dominated by a handful of large infrastructure vendors. ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm, expects the total spending on Open RAN radio units (RUs) for the public outdoor macrocell network will reach US$69.5 billion in 2030, with cumulative unit shipments expected to reach 15.7 million. Meanwhile, the total revenue of Open RAN RUs for enterprise indoor small cell network will get reach as high as US$39.8 billion in 2030, with cumulative unit shipments expected to reach 205.5 million.
“The key benefits of Open RAN bring multi-vendor interoperability for innovations and reduce time to market for deploying new network functionality,” said Jiancao Hou, 5G and Mobile Network Infrastructure Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “Powered by network virtualization, Open RAN will help network operators and various industrial enterprise verticals enable network automation and intelligent radio resource control, therefore reducing network integration expenses and operational complexity.” Moreover, “A robust ecosystem and supply diversity will remove fears and potential security threats to governments and network operators whose telco infrastructures were initially supplied by one or two big vendors, which has led to the unpredictable disruption of supply chains.”
Rakuten Mobile, a greenfield network service provider, set a prime example to deploy Open RAN solution. Moreover, Vodafone has also announced its first live Open RAN 4G site in the United Kingdom and partnered with Parallel Wireless. At the same time, TIP published a playbook to capture the learnings from the trial deployment in Turkey. Apart from those, many other network operators in collaboration with the vendor ecosystem are deploying and testing the solution, namely Dish Network in the U.S., Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Oranges, and Turkcell in the EU and many other geological regions. The success of these deployment use cases will bring more network operators, new vendors, and stakeholders into the marketplace to invest this new network approach. In addition, with the expansion of the supplier ecosystem, traditional infrastructure vendors will need to reconsider their RAN development and deployment strategies.
“ABI Research expects that 2G/3G and 4G will be the mainstream focus of Open RAN in the next few years, while 5G Open RAN systems are being developed and matured. Advanced 5G features, including massive MIMO, dynamic spectrum sharing, and wide-band carrier aggregation, are still single-vendor solutions and will likely remain so for the immediate future,” Hou points out. “On the other hand, several chipset vendors and new entrants are now creating development and processing platforms that will likely power the next wave of innovation in Open RAN.” Moreover, “Many unique features of Open RAN can also beneficial for industrial enterprise verticals to build private cellular networks. These features include infrastructure reconfigurability, network sustainability, time to innovations, and deployment cost,” Hou concludes.
These findings are from ABI Research’s OpenRAN and vRAN Addressable Markets and Stakeholders application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s 5G & Mobile Network Infrastructure research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.
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