Research by US manufacturing services company Jabil pointed to growing traction around open RAN, with a majority of businesses involved in the implementation or adoption of 5G expecting the approach to be a serious contender within the next two years.

A survey of 193 companies conducted for Jabil by SIS International Research found 57 per cent expect open RAN to be ready for widespread deployment in the timeframe, with 22 per cent already establishing a roadmap.

The research also showed 55 per cent of respondents were “seriously considering an open RAN strategy”.

Jabil stated participants believe open RAN “will reduce capital and operational expenditures”.

Some 44 per cent of respondents believe cloud service providers including Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure have a role in open RAN strategies, while 67 per cent which have an existing strategy for the approach stated these companies fit into their plans.

The companies were bullish on 5G’s prospects, with 65 per cent citing it as a superior technology which will “dramatically transform telecommunications”, an increase of 16 per cent compared with the first survey in 2018.

Most respondents (64 per cent) agreed it would take one-to-three years before 5G technology was widely adopted, with 32 per cent citing lack of spectrum as the biggest challenge for deployments.

Additional business model challenges for 5G include the creation of subscription models (31 per cent); government regulations (27 per cent); and erosion of market share by OTT providers (25 per cent).

Open RAN has its fair share of critics. In March, Strand Consult founder John Strand predicted the approach would account for less than 1 per cent of 5G mobile sites in 2025 and not more than 3 per cent by 2030.