Capital expenditure on OpenRAN radio units is expected to reach $47.4 billion by 2026, predicted ABI Research this week.
$40.7 billion of that sum is expected to be spent on outdoor public networks – which include macro as well as small cells – with shipment volumes reaching 9.9 million. The remaining $6.7 billion is expected to come from spending on indoor enterprise networks, with volumes in this segment of the market reaching 29.4 million.
The Open RAN market is rapidly expanding and is expected to exceed the traditional RAN market for the first time around 2027-2028.
“The Open RAN opportunity invites various stakeholders to bring their best in class technologies and hardware/software components to contribute to building a flexible, secure, agile, and multi-vendor interoperable network solution,” said Jiancao Hou, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.
“In addition, trade wars and the global pandemic of COVID-19 have resulted in tremendous restrictions on the telecom supply chain and disrupt the evolution of new technologies. These effects will accelerate the development of Open RAN and open networks.”
Rakuten Mobile, a greenfield network operator in Japan, set a prime example to deploy this new approach. Moreover, many other operators are also active in the field, namely Dish Network in the US, Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Turkcell.
“ABI Research expects greenfield installations, as well as private enterprise networks and public consumer networks, in rural/uncovered areas to drive the deployment of Open RAN throughout the entire forecast period,” adds Hou.
The analyst also expects the cellular infrastructure market’s major vendors to react to the competition coming from the likes of Mavenir, NEC, Fujitsu and more.
“ABI Research sees new entrants will lead the early deployment for Open RAN, but they will be increasingly challenged by tier-one vendors and system integrators for both public cellular implementations and enterprise deployment,” states Hou.
Open RAN can introduce many advantages to the enterprise market, including infrastructure reconfigurability, interoperability, network sustainability, and cost efficiency. On the other hand, these small and easily manageable network use cases will likely lower the entry barrier for Open RAN. Simultaneously they help network operators and their ecosystem partners clearly understand the approach and suppliers’ maturity level, therefore paving the way for a broader market.
Besides, “ABI Research sees new entrants will lead the early deployment for Open RAN, but they will be increasingly challenged by tier-one vendors and system integrators for both public cellular implementations and enterprise deployment,” Hou concludes.