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December 11, 2023

Telecoms industry ends 2023 with self-inflicted 5G wounds, Open RAN fallout

2023 has seen the MNOs continue to enjoy the utility function that their networks provide, with incredibly inelastic demand for mobile connectivity. They have, however, still suffered from a lack of consumer enthusiasm for 5G but, as we have outlined, this is a self-inflicted wound, with marketers and evangelists squarely to blame.

For the vendors, there has been doubt about the extent of the disruption that Open RAN will provide. As we have just seen with AT&T, even an Open RAN contract can have a single vendor, and the fallout of this deal is just starting to be felt throughout the industry.

The industry is already considering the impact of 6G, but has not properly learned the lessons of the 5G rollout – which is far from complete. With 5G Standalone not yet widespread, and plenty of legacy infrastructure headaches to resolve, there is a risk that the MNOs will race too quickly into the next hype cycle.

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