Global RAN is projected to decline at a 1 percent CAGR over the next five years as more developed 5G regions, such as North America and China, are projected to record steeper declines, Dell’Oro Group reveals.
The analysis suggests that the Radio Access Network (RAN) market has reached a point of saturation, with revenues flattening out in 2022 and continuing to do so in the first quarter of 2023. This slowdown in the global RAN business follows a significant growth period of 40 percent to 50 percent between 2017 and 2021.
Some of the main RAN vendors include Airspan, CommScope, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Mavenir, NEC, Nokia, Samsung Electronics and ZTE.
One of the key factors contributing to the RAN market’s stagnation is the challenging comparisons in more mature 5G markets. As regions with slower 5G adoption are unable to compensate for the decline in growth in more advanced markets like North America and China, the overall RAN market is expected to decline. The report indicates that new revenue streams, such as Fixed Wireless Access and enterprise LTE/5G, are not ramping up quickly enough to change this trajectory.
The forecast predicts a decline in the global RAN market at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1 percent over the next five years. The less advanced 5G regions are expected to perform relatively better compared to the more developed regions, which are projected to experience steeper declines.
While LTE still handles the majority of mobile data traffic, the focus of new RAN investments is shifting toward 5G. Despite the challenging comparisons, 5G is projected to grow by another 20 percent to 30 percent by 2027. However, this growth alone will not be sufficient to offset the anticipated steep declines in LTE.
The report mentions the role of mmWave spectrum in the RAN market. Currently, mmWave comprises a low single-digit share of the market. However, Dell’Oro Group maintains its belief that mmWave spectrum will play a crucial role in the long-term capacity roadmap, despite growing skepticism about the business case for Mobile Broadband (MBB).
In conclusion, the forecast report suggests that the worldwide RAN market is currently experiencing a slowdown, with revenues plateauing after a period of significant growth. The market decline is expected to continue in the coming years, with more mature 5G regions facing steeper declines. While 5G is projected to grow, it will not be enough to offset the decline in LTE. The report highlights the potential long-term significance of mmWave spectrum in the RAN market’s capacity roadmap.