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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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11 August 2022

Private Networks Driving Opportunities in 5G and WiFi

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    Private Network deployments are now surging and will continue to accelerate at a higher rate than public 5G deployments. And by 2028 Private 5G Networks sales and services will generate almost $24 Billion in revenue, while WiFi (5,6E) will see a surge to $2.5 billion by 2025.

    Rethink through surveys, and in-depth interviews has discussed deployments of Private Networks with 85 network operators, and 110 enterprises, who are looking to deploy private 5G networks.

    This RAN Research forecast gives a global snapshot of Private Networks and lays out the potential deployments and revenue, with regional and industry vertical breakdowns.

    Operators, and new service providers compete to deploy private networks and generate new revenue streams, while enterprises, citing control and security look to bypass them and deploy their own networks.  At the same time existing technology providers face off with new providers, who are joining the fray on the back of Open RAN.

    The analysis dives into the coexistence and collaboration debate, looks at the impact of Open RAN, the potential for HetNets, spectrum and its use cases, existing technologies, and innovations that will drive Private Network opportunities, whilst analysing the drivers and barriers to deployment.

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28 June 2022

Small cells and edge – a key 5G business opportunity

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    There is a logical convergence of infrastructure build-out between edge cloud and telecoms connectivity, and there is a particular alignment with 5G, which combines high bandwidth with full mobility, as well as an inherently low-latency air interface that enhances the effect of edge compute on response times.

    Given the distributed nature of the edge, especially to serve enterprises with on-premise or near-premise infrastructure, the obvious correlation, in terms of build-out and investment, is with small cells and, increasingly, with private networks. That raises a series of opportunities and key decisions for all kinds of operators – not just established telcos and mobile network operators (MNOs), but the emerging breed of enterprise-focused private network operators (PNOs) and neutral hosts. All these categories were represented in the survey of 5G deployers that Rethink Technology Research conducted in the second quarter of 2022, eliciting response from one or more senior executives within 85 different companies.

    In the latest report from Caroline Gabriel, Rethink’s Co-Founder and Research Director entitled ‘Small cells and Edge: a key 5G business opportunity’, there was a clear distinction between operators’ attitudes to edge cloud ownership if they planned to use it primarily to support their own network functions, to support enterprise applications, or to support consumer services for their established user bases

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12 April 2022

Fixed Wireless Access Rises to Reduce Broadband Deficits

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    Fixed wireless access (FWA) has emerged as a major use case for 5G in many markets, after years of being offered as a broadband connectivity option chiefly in remote areas that are largely unserved by a wired alternative such as telco DSL, cable TV or fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP). But now the technological advances of 5G are helping to remove the shackles from the Fixed Wireless Access business model in a wider range of scenarios than before.

    Fixed Wireless Access subscriber numbers are already accelerating dramatically in key developed markets, such as the USA, largely as a result of 5G. However, numbers are also increasing even with 4G support only, driven by rising demand for broadband and improvements to the Fixed Wireless Access deployment models. 4G is enabling expansion of broadband coverage, even at a lower level of performance than 5G, in various developing countries, such as South Africa, the Philippines and Indonesia.

    These two trends combined will propel global Fixed Wireless Access subscriptions at a faster rate than had been widely anticipated until recently, from 64m in 2021 to 218.8m in 2028.

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7 February 2022

Open RAN faces significant challenges in the Macro RAN

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    Adoption of full Open RAN architectures, and of new suppliers or multivendor networks, will be accelerated or delayed (even until the 6G era, potentially) depending on how effectively the emerging ecosystem addresses key challenges of performance, cost and complexity of integration, solution immaturity and cloud migration.

    Among these challenges, as our forecast details, an affordable, power-efficient distributed unit that can match the performance of a special-purpose solution; and the full optimization of Open RAN for Massive MIMO antenna arrays, are the most pressing technical challenges. We go as far as to say that addressing these two challenges, at a time when operators are accelerating adoption of Massive MIMO and seeking to support very advanced 5G use cases, will decide the level of success of Open RAN in the macro network before 2027.

    Beyond the technology, many overlapping decisions need to be made about supplier relationships, public or private cloud platforms, 5G use case priorities, and whether the 5G SA/core migration needs to go hand-in-hand with vRAN adoption. All of this will take time and require operators to conduct complex balancing of risk and reward. The opportunity for Open RAN architectures and vendors is huge, and could reshape the mobile industry, and 2022-2023 will be the crucial period in which we see how far it will fulfil that potential.

    Rethink’s forecast is built on many data points and inputs, but most importantly on a survey of 72 mobile and converged operators, including new entrants, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2021. All respondents are deploying, trialling or evaluating macro network vRAN and/or Open RAN, a community that, at this point in time, represents almost 65% of tier one and two operators (though a smaller percentage when tier three and four operators are considered). This report focuses on vRAN, Open RAN and Massive MIMO in the outdoor macro and micro base station market

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7 December 2021

4G Deployments – The Backbone of 5G

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    The 4G infrastructure and subscriber base still has five more years of growth worldwide and will dominate in developing regions as earlier generations reach their sunset. At the same time, 4G infrastructure will provide the foundation for 5G in many developed countries before Stand Alone deployments with native 5G cores are deployed widely. 4G networks will also continue to fill in coverage for 5G services as users roam and carry large amounts of mobile traffic even in those countries such as China and South Korea that are rolling out 5G fastest.

    These are conclusions of the latest report from RAN Research, the analytics arm of Rethink Technology Research, “4G Deployments — The Backbone of 5G”. Any global summary of 4G masks great regional variations, with 5G arriving like a whirlwind in some markets while in others 4G is still accelerating and will itself help galvanize economic growth and technological progress, often filling in fixed broadband coverage gaps. A variety of factors are behind the regional differences in roll out of both 4G and 5G, including variations in spectrum allocation, regulatory policy, timing of shutdown for legacy generations, and also disposable consumer income.

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7 October 2021

Migration choices and dilemmas in vRAN and Open RAN

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    Advanced mobile operators have embarked on their journey to fully cloud-based networks, but the virtualized RAN is usually the final stage on the roadmap, because of its enormous technical challenges and uncertain economics. However, several developments are converging so that the incentives to embark on RAN virtualization outweigh the significant risks.

    Improved technology enablers and market conditions will drive a 60% CAGR in operating spending on vRAN as a whole, and 124% CAGR in the Open RAN subset of that sector, between 2020 and 2026. This will result in spending of $35 billion by 2026. In terms of numbers of radio units deployed, the CAGR figures are predicted to be 34% and 184% respectively.

    These are the headline conclusions of the latest report from Rethink Technology Research’s RAN service, “Migration choices and dilemmas in vRAN and Open RAN”, which is published this week. The report is based on a unique forecast model that draws on many inputs including a survey, conducted in June-August 2021, of 78 mobile operators worldwide that have vRAN on their roadmap for the period to 2026.

    For more information contact:

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

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