Dell’Oro Group reported the mobile core network market posted its lowest growth rate since Q4 2017 during Q3, due in part to an uncertain geopolitical climate and the fear of high inflation rates.

Research director Dave Bolan stated EMEA and China shifted from being the strongest markets in Q2 to the weakest.

He stated the sector entered an unpredictable phase after breaking the highest growth rate in since Q1 2021 during Q2.

Unfavourable foreign exchange rates were an additional factor for the volatility.

Bolan noted the boost expected from deployments of standalone (SA) 5G had yet to materilise, with non-standalone launches still dominating rollouts.

He said seven SA 5G networks had launched so far this year, compared with 17 during 2022: the company noted Ericsson provided the packet core for all deployments in 2023.

Dell’Oro Group placed the total number of commercial SA 5G service launches at 45 by end-September.

It forecast an improvement in 2024 as more SA 5G networks launch.

Dell’Oro Group ranked Huawei, Ericsson, ZTE and Nokia, respectively, as the top 5G core network vendors during Q3.