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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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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

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21 February 2019

Making the mobile enterprise a reality at last?

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    Small cells and shared spectrum forecast to 2025

    Shared spectrum combined with small cell technology will open up every major enterprise to a new era of indoor cellular performance, previously undreamed of, says a new report out this week from Rethink Technology Research.

    The US will pioneer this with CBRS and Rethink forecasts that by 2025, shared spectrum small cells will account for almost half (48%) of total new installations, and CBRS will still represent two-thirds of those, running in both 5G and 4G. The bulk of these will be within enterprise.

    “Small cells and shared spectrum: making the mobile enterprise a reality at last?” shows there could be as many as 3.7 million base stations using shared spectrum installed globally by 2025.

    The report shows best case, worst case and middle case, based on future regulator decisions – Regulators must trigger much of this activity by making clear and early decisions before the end of 2019.

    There is an opportunity here for disruption of MNO business from alternative deployers, as shared spectrum will allow companies who do not own spectrum to build centrally controlled wireless networks of their own for the first time.

    New types of operators, including neutral hosts, cloud providers, cablecos and enterprise integrators, will be able to harness shared spectrum and small cells to deploy specialized capabilities just where they are needed, and so to make a stronger business case for enterprise services than an MNO usually can.

    Companies mentioned in this report:

    Airband TVWS consortium, Airspan, Altice, American Tower, Amazon AWS, Athonet, AT&T, Berkeley Vaitronics, Boingo, BMW, CableLabs, CBRS Alliance, CDE Lightband, Charter Communications, Cisco, Comcast, CommScope, Cox, Crown Castle, Daimler, Dell, Department of Defense, Ericsson, ExteNet, Federated Wireless, FCC, GE, Google, JMA Wireless, LoRa, Mercedes, Microsoft, Mobilitie, Nokia, NTIA, Ruckus Wireless, Samsung, Sigfox, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Volkswagen, WinnForum, Zinwave

    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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