Dell’Oro Group reduced its mobile core network (MCN) market forecast for the fourth consecutive time, largely due to a slowdown in deployments of standalone (SA) 5G infrastructure.

The company forecast a MCN CAGR of less than 1 per cent between 2023 and 2028.

Sectors expected to lead growth include multi-access edge computing (MEC) and the 5G. 

Research director Dave Bolan explained the MEC segment would lead, with an expected 26 per cent CAGR, with 5G on 7 per cent.

He predicted the MEC market would be energised by the introduction of reduced capability (RedCap) IoT devices, which are expected to bring more 5G models into the market at lower price points.

Bolan explained there were 18 new SA 5G networks deployed in 2022 but 12 in 2023.

Dell’Oro Group tallied the number of SA 5G enhanced mobile broadband networks deployed at 50, without giving a date.

Bolan stated a lot of work had been done in the background by operators preparing to launch SA 5G networks and he expects 2024 to have more launches than 2022.

He predicted SA 5G launches in almost all global markets in 2024, except Africa.

Bolan noted Dell’Oro Group expects 75 per cent of next-generation users to be on SA 5G networks in 2028 and around 60 per cent of 4G subscribers to be on converged core networks.