Market research company Dell’Oro Group predicted sales of open RAN equipment will grow at double-digit rates in the five years to end-2024, citing political uncertainty as one of three main drivers of momentum behind the approach.
Total spending over the forecast period is tipped to hit $5 billion, with cumlative shipments of radio equipment including macro and small cells expected to reach 1 million units.
Stefan Pongratz, VP and analyst, explained momentum is being fuelled by “a confluence of factors including promising results from initial commercial deployments, growing support from the incumbent RAN suppliers and increased geopolitical uncertainty acting as a catalyst for operators to rethink their supplier strategies”.
The political reference appears to relate to attempts by the US government to push Chinese vendor Huawei out of domestic and international operator networks: officials previously expressed interest in developing open RAN technologies as an alternative source of telecom kit.
Major players Ericsson and Nokia both backed open RAN, with the former a member of the O-RAN Alliance since February 2019 and the latter joining a US-oriented lobby group in May. Nokia detailed plans to incorporate the technology into its range in 2021.