Fundamentals remain strong for 2022, Open RAN forecast upgraded
The Radio Access Network (RAN) infrastructure market’s growth slowed in the first quarter, according to new research from Dell’Oro Group. Despite the overall RAN slowdown – attributed to pandemic and supply chain-related issues – the 5G market’s novelty and overall fundamentals look healthy, according to Dell’Oro VP Stefan Pongratz.
Despite slow overall growth in the RAN market, Dell’Oro upgraded OpenRAN and vRAN revenue projections based on record revenue in that segment of the market.
“We have not made any major adjustments to the aggregate forecast and still expect the broader RAN market to record a fifth consecutive year of growth in 2022, underpinned by elevated investments in North America, Europe, and China,” he said.
Top five supplies for the quarter include Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, and Samsung. Inside of China, Huawei and ZTE dominate. Outside of China, Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung lead, according to the report.
Both Samsung and Fujitsu gained marketshare, noted Dell’Oro. Earlier this month, Dish picked Samsung as an Open RAN equipment provider. The Samsung radios — some of which will be Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) radios — will also support all of Dish’s Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum bands — n71, n29, n66, n70, n48 and n77.
In April, Fujitsu announced support for the Evenstar Open RAN program. Fujitsu will contribute 5G massive MIMO Radio Units (RUs). Fujitsu said the RUs will be tested, validated and listed on the TIP Exchange Marketplace in the second half of 2022. Massive MIMO increases spectral efficiency and is seen as key to more network capacity and wider coverage. Fujitsu said that improving efficiency at the network edge will benefit the environment as well.
OpenRAN and vRAN on the rise
Dell’Oro separately announced that Open RAN revenues, including O-RAN and OpenRAN radio and baseband, hit record levels in the first quarter. vRAN revenues quadrupled in the first quarter. Open RAN revenues more than doubled in the first quarter of 2022, said Dell’Oro.
The growth was led by strong movement in the Asia Pacific and North America regions. Dell’Oro noted that this is the result of momentum achieved in the second half of 2021. The analysts believe total Open RAN revenues will account for 3-5 percent of the global 2022 RAN market.
Commenting on the news, Pongratz said that it’s a sign that open interfaces have shifted away from the experimental phase.
“The migration towards new architectures, including Open RAN and vRAN, continued to move in the right direction in the first quarter, bolstering the narrative that the shift toward open interfaces is here to stay. The surge in the first quarter taken together with impending portfolio advancements form the basis for the more favorable short-term outlook,” said Pongratz.