ABI Research painted a gloomy outlook for the RAN market after revenue flattened in 2022 and Q1 of 2023, due to in part to mature 5G markets in North America and China.

The research company noted global RAN revenue increased 40 per cent to 50 per cent between 2017 and 2021, but is now projected to decline at a CAGR of 1 per cent over the next five years.

It tipped continued growth in 5G RAN, but warned this will not be enough to offset the lower spending in other sectors of the RAN market.

“The challenge now is the comparisons are becoming more challenging in the more mature 5G markets and the upside with the slower-to-adopt 5G regions is not enough to extend the growth streak,” stated Stefan Pongratz, VP at Dell’Oro Group.

Pongratz stated new 5G revenue streams from services including fixed wireless access and enterprise services are not growing fast enough to offset the RAN decline.

He does not expect 5G-Advanced to “trigger a new capex cycle”.

“The question now is no longer whether RAN will grow. The question now is rather how much will the RAN market decline before 6G comes along?”

The company stated less advanced 5G regions are expected to perform better while more developed areas will record steeper declines.

Even with the challenging comparisons, 5G is projected to grow another 20 per cent to 30 per cent by 2027, but this is not tipped to be enough to offset steep declines in LTE investments.