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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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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
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    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

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22 November 2018

Will 5G really be so different after all?

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    5G Deployment Trends to 2025

    “While 84% of MNOs aim to deploy a 5G vRAN, only 24% believe they will do that in the first two years.” 

    There are mounting tensions in the 5G world – on the one-hand vendors are emphasizing new business models, and trying to enable them, and on the other, operator spending plans, show they are more worried about sustaining the growth curve on mobile broadband.

    This mismatch will show up in planned Capex expenditure and the order in which operators expect to deploy different aspects of 5G. Early 5G will be all about consumer mobile broadband delivering high speed to the handset, and ignoring new business models.

    RAN Research has forecast 5G deployment trends to 2025 but at the simplest level, has forecast, capex spend on base stations – segmenting the spend between Macro cells and small cells, and the timing on that spend. The report anticipates a small capex peak in the near future, but then business as usual.

    Densification plans are postponed. Previous spending surveys one year ago and two years ago, showed a very different set of priorities among MNOs – and now they are putting densification on the back burner, and instead focusing on mobile broadband. Surprisingly two-thirds of 5G sites deployed in the first two years of commercial roll-out will be macro.

    MNOs are also putting back their plans for virtualization in the RAN, and because fully commercial-grade platforms and open interfaces have not matured as quickly as expected.

    This conservatism will affect equipment purchases, with a greater emphasis on macrocells, complemented by 4G small cells, and a postponed investment, for many, in 5G densification.

    Companies mentioned in this report:

    NTT Docomo, Rakuten, Vodafone, Swisscom, Three UK, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Telecom Italia, Wind Tre, Iliad Italia, Telia Finland, Elisa, DNA, Telecom Infra Project, ORAN Alliance.

    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.
    Prices shown include VAT for UK and EU.

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