Operators Set to Invest Over $30 bn in Open RAN Networks by 2030, Despite Near-Term Market Stagnation

Mobile operators worldwide are poised to inject more than $30 billion into open radio access network (Open RAN) infrastructure by 2030. This investment projection signifies a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24 percent over the next decade.
Samsung Open RAN radiosOpen RAN, an acronym for open radio access network, is made possible by adhering to industry-wide standards, enabling telecom suppliers to produce compatible equipment. According to Counterpoint Research, the rise in investments in Open RAN networks has been driven primarily by greenfield network operators in the Asia-Pacific and North American regions.

Despite the recent surge in network build-outs, greenfield operators are anticipated to shift their focus from capital expenditure (Capex) to network monetization in 2023 and 2024. Notably, major Tier-1 operators like Vodafone have unveiled significant plans for deploying Open RAN. However, caution prevails among most brownfield network operators, especially regarding additional investments in 5G infrastructure, due to the prevailing uncertain macroeconomic climate.

The report suggests that the Open RAN market is expected to experience a period of stagnation in the coming year. It predicts a resurgence in investments from 2025 onward, with network operators committing to a cumulative total of over $30 billion between 2022 and 2030.

While the Asia-Pacific and North American regions are anticipated to remain the largest Open RAN markets for the majority of the forecast period, Europe is set to witness the fastest growth. The region is projected to achieve a staggering CAGR of 108 percent between 2023 and 2030. This growth will be fueled by commercial deployments at scale by European Tier-1 operators, partly driven by the necessity to replace legacy Chinese 3G and 4G networks.

Up to this point, the Open RAN-compliant radio market has been dominated by Asian vendors such as Samsung, NEC, and Fujitsu. However, Counterpoint Research predicts that their market share will face challenges during the forecast period as other incumbents begin offering Open RAN-compliant solutions.

In conclusion, despite near-term market stagnation, the global trajectory for Open RAN networks remains optimistic, with substantial investments expected to drive innovation and expansion in the telecommunications sector over the next decade.