A recently released report by the Dell’Oro Group, a telecoms market research firm, saw its forecasts for Open RAN kit revenues revised upwards.
Claiming that the market has a had some momentum going for it which is what will drive the growth for radio and baseband (excluding services), the forecast expects Open RAN to account for 15% of the total RAN market by 2026, reaching close to $20 billion over the next five years. The details of what sits behind that momentum are not clear, however, there is some reference to greenfield versus brownfield adopters and their approaches.
“The Open RAN movement continues to trend in the right direction,” said Stefan Pongratz, Analyst at the Dell’Oro Group. “At the same time, we have three separate Open RAN waves right now and they are not all moving at the same pace – greenfields and early brownfield adopters are deploying Open RAN aggressively while the remaining brownfields, which also make up the largest part of the market, remain more cautious navigating this transition.”
The report projects Asia Pacific and North America regions to dominate Open RAN investments through to 2026. The geopolitical tensions between the US and China and the increasing desire to become more self-sufficient means the North America forecast comes to no huge surprise. The bullish growth plans from Japan’s Rakuten and desire to be a market leading end-to-end Open RAN equipment supplier and system integrator may well be behind this revised forecast.
The Open RAN market remains a hot topic for both sceptics and proponents and guarantees debates around the future of operator capex and dependency. But the fact remains that there is still work to be done in order for operators to efficiently move away from big vendor lock-in and ensure whatever they wish for the future of RAN equipment maintains a balance of vendor plurality and network security.