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RAN Research

RAN Research releases 6 forecasts a year, covering Small cells, the structure of 5G, Optimization and SON, Macro Layer RAN, Cloud RAN and Mobile Edge Computing.

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    The RAN Research arm of Rethink Technology Research is an essential reading for anyone who wants to stay on top of current trends and thinking among MNOs.  It’s like being a fly on the wall in their planning meetings and is based on questions MNOs have answered about their planned and future expenditure.

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14 May 2020

Private networks and shared spectrum: making the 5G enterprise a reality

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    Private Networks will propel Small Cells to 26 million by 2026

    Enterprise networks, increasingly deployed by private operators, will provide small cells with the sweet spot they have been seeking for so long, and drive the market to 26 million units by 2026.

    The cells will be increasingly diverse in form, ranging from compact versions of macro base stations to almost invisible systems embedded in electronic equipment. But the huge majority – 68% of all small cells that will be deployed between 2019 and 2026 – will be for enterprise and industrial use cases.

    These conclusions have been reached by the latest report from Rethink Technology’s RAN Research practice, entitled Private networks and shared spectrum: making the 5G enterprise a reality – Small Cells and Private Networks 2019-2026.  A key growth driver will be the rise of private networks to support industrial and engineering use cases, increasingly enabled by emerging shared spectrum in mid-band and millimeter wave bands.

    This document contains explanatory notes and commentary to accompany the Excel spreadsheet ‘Rethink RAN Service Small Cells and Private Networks 2019-2026. That contains further data breakdowns including regional patterns. The surveys and forecasts on which the outputs are based were conducted in January to March 2020.

    There were 94 responses from operators (66 traditional mobile network operators and 28 private, enterprise or neutral host operators, plus a partner study of 72 large to medium corporations in North America, Europe, China, India and south-east Asia.

    Companies mentioned in this report:

    Airspan, AT&T, CBRS, Crown Castle, DenseAir, Deutsche Telekom, FCC, Federated Wireless, LoRa, Ofcom, O-RAN Alliance, Sigfox, Small Cell Forum, Sprint, Telecom Infra Project, T-Mobile, Verizon, Zinwave

    For more information contact:

    John Constant
    Business Specialist Director
    [email protected]
    Office +44 (0)7468 460739

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17 March 2020

Is it right to be a Tortoise or Hare in 5G migration?

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    Migration strategies for 5G RAN and core 2019-2026

    The array of deployment options for 5G is bewildering, and an operator’s timing to adopt new technologies will have a profound effect on its commercial outcome.

    The most critical timing decision is when to migrate from 5G Non-Standalone mode (deployed in every live network to date, and using the LTE core) to fully-fledged 5G Standalone with a cloud-native core.

    Is it better to be a Tortoise or a Hare when it comes to diving into these key 5G choices? Should an MNO install the most advanced features as soon as they become available, or wait until platforms are more stable and mature? What is the optimal timing to adopt the 5G core, and to move to full cloud operation?

    Rethink Technology Research has surveyed 86 service providers about their deployment strategies, covering a combination of converged telcos; mobile-first operators; and alternative deployers with greenfield mobile businesses and no legacy networks to migrate. In each case they have discussed their plans and priorities, and their key business drivers.

    The resulting forecast is part of Rethink’s RAN Research service and is entitled, “Is it right to be a Tortoise or Hare in 5G migration? Migration strategies for 5G RAN and core 2019-2026” and is out this week.

    Companies mentioned in this report:

    Accelleran, Affirmed, Altiostar, Amazon, AT&T, AWS, BT, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Dish, Etisalat, HPE, Huawei, Mavenir, Microsoft Azure, NEC, Nokia, NTT Docomo, Open RAN Alliance, Orange, Parallel Wireless, Rakuten Mobile, Robin.io, Samsung, SingTel, SK Telecom, Small Cell Forum, Spidercloud, Telecom Infra Project, Telefonica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Turkcell, Vodafone, YouTube, ZTE

    For more information contact:

    John Constant
    Business Specialist Director
    [email protected]
    Office +44 (0)7468 460739

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8 January 2020

RAN investment growth will rely on alternative deployers

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    Deployment of base stations by new and alternative cellular operators 2019-2025

    A critical difference between mobile network deployments in the 5G era, and those in preceding generations, will be the diversity of organizations building, managing and monetizing them.

    For the first time, in the 5G era, major deployments of cellular networks will be made by non-MNOs. By 2025, although traditional operators will still dominate capex spending on wide area macro networks, almost one-third of budget on greenfield, localized and indoor networks will be spent by new entrants.

    This report from Rethink Technology Research’s RAN Research service, entitled “RAN investment growth will rely on alternative deployers” and subtitled “Deployment of base stations by new and alternative cellular operators 2019-2025,” provides a roadmap for how this will play out.

    This forecast, constructed by our head of research Caroline Gabriel, one of the most experienced and respected analysts working in the cellular field today, shows how capex from the usual suspects will continue to fall (-4%) each year to 2025, and it highlights which sectors, in which regions, will help pick up the slack, as new customers spend hard to get into the 5G market from a standing start.
    Cumulatively to 2025 the industry will spend $51.8bn, and 43% of that will be invested by alternative operators.

    Companies mentioned in this report:

    Altice USA, AT&T, Bosch, Charter, Com-cast, Crown Castle, DenseAIR, Digital Colony, Dish Network, Free mobile, Iliad, iWireless, SK Telekom, Rakuten, Reliance Jio, Zayo

    For more information contact:

    John Constant
    Business Specialist Director
    [email protected]
    Office +44 (0)1794 521411

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21 October 2019

Sharing assets is key to making 5G RAN affordable

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    Macro network deployment forecast to 2025

    In the first stage of 5G deployment, cost containment is the number one priority for many cellular operators. A new survey of operators, out this week from the RAN Research service of Rethink Technology Research, reveals the primary tactics which they are adopting to ensure upfront 5G costs are far lower than they were for 4G.

    Every operator is deploying 5G first in non-standalone mode, which works with the LTE core, and they are also reusing other key assets like sites and backhaul. They want to preserve as much of their existing network investment as possible, and the investment in NSA is lower than it would have been if the 5G NR standards had remained as a single set of specs.

    However, in future they will migrate to standalone mode and a 5G core, so they need to adopt other cost reduction approaches, to ensure they are not saving money now, but storing up the biggest 5G spending for a few years’ time.

    The survey shows an increasing tendency for MNOs to share everything from towers to spectrum in order to spread costs across multiple players. And they are introducing totally new base station form factors, notably the ‘mini-macro,’ which looks to be the sweet spot for investment in the early 5G market. This type of base station will enable them to densify the network at lower cost than current options, while preserving full functionality.

    This report is based on a survey of 78 leading global MNOs about the most important decisions they are making to ensure their physical RANs remain cost-effective in the near term (1 to 6 years).

    For more information contact:

    John Constant
    Business Specialist Director
    [email protected]
    Office +44 (0)1794 521411

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30 July 2019

RAN automation is central to the 5G case – but is it a distant dream?

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    Automation and SON deployments and trends 2018-2025

    Plans to implement advanced machine learning based automation in 5G networks are grinding to a halt, with operators slowing investment and reducing their ambitions. This comes from a report out this week from Rethink Technology Research in its RAN Research service entitled, “RAN automation is central to the 5G case – but is it a distant dream?” Automation and SON deployments, trends to 2025.

    Failure to properly see through the full automation of 5G will mean much of the business case for installing it in the first place will be lost.

    Operators surveyed for this report are now less ambitious in planning automation, and yet in 5G it is not an option – the network is so complex that it can no longer be properly managed by humans.  Delay Automation and SON and you delay 5G.

    Automation targets for completion have now fallen back into the mid-2020s, and without it 5G will not deliver the huge reductions in operating costs that it needs to.

    For more information contact:

    Natalia Szczepanek
    Client Relations and Marketing Manager
    [email protected]
    Office +44 (0)1179 257019

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2 May 2019

Open RAN architecture set to disrupt 5G landscape

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    Operator Buying Patterns to 2025

    Openness comes to most proprietary technologies, because it is a time honored way of bringing down pricing in any given market. Whether Open RAN concepts emerge in the next 12 months or over the next four years, it will have the same effect.

    There are a variety of candidate technologies lining up to Open the RAN, and operators and vendors alike are pulling in multiple directions – but one thing is certain, what emerges from the early years of 5G will change the shape of the cellular industry forever, with the big OEMs mostly hoping to take a traditional and proprietary approach, and operators insisting that they break up the RAN into separate open functions, where every vendor offering can interoperate with every other product. It is this that will re-introduce competition into the cellular market, driving down price points, which are in turn needed so operators can experiment with new business models.

    A series of start-ups, exemplar operators and smaller existing equipment vendors are all pushing different varieties of open approaches to the 5G Radio Access Network (RAN).

    But today a fully Open RAN platform is a long way off and there are many obstacles in its path, not least of which is the entrenched position and heavy R&D investment of the major OEMs. There are also risks seen by some operators of partnering with an immature and fragmented open solution. But the driver that makes open RAN irresistible is the need for a more competitive multi-vendor approach to drive down costs.
    This report lays down a number of scenarios of how open systems will prise open the RAN market – with some adoption likely to some open APIs during 2020, and some scenarios not unfurling until deep into 2025.

    Companies mentioned in this report;

    Airrays, Airspan, Allot, Altiostar, Amarisoft, Anikowave, ARM, Askey, ASOCS, Athonet, AT&T, Beicells, Ball Aerospace, Bell Labs, Bharti Airtel, British Telecom, China Mobile, China Mobile Research Institute, China Unicom, CHIPS Alliance, Ciena, Cisco, Cloud-RAN Alliance, Comba, Deutsche Telekom, Docomo, Ericsson, Facebook, Fujitsu, HFR, Huawei, H3C, Innoeye, Intel, KDDI, Keysight, KT, Lenovo, Linux Foundation, Mavenir, Metaswitch, NEC, Netcracker, Nokia, NTT, OKI, ORAN Alliance, Orange, Parallel Wireless, Phluido, Pivotal Commware, Quanta, Qualcomm, Radisys, Rakuten, Red Hat, Reliance Jio, Ruckus Wireless, Samsung, Sercomm, Singtel, SK Telecom, Softbank, SOLiD, Sprint, Tech Mahindra, Telefónica, Telstra, TIM, Verizon, Viavi, Vodafone, WiFi Alliance, Xilinx, ZTE.

    For more information contact:

    Natalia Szczepanek
    Client Relations and Marketing Manager
    [email protected]
    Office: +44 (0)1179 257019

    Rethink Store

    If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] for more information.
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