The global RAN (Radio Access Network) basestation equipment market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5 percent to exceed US$26 billion in 2023. According to a new report published by ABI Research, these sales take into account both outdoor and indoor RAN equipment including macro basestations, outdoor small cells, indoor small cells and DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems).

“Today the RAN equipment market is undergoing multiple technology transitions as network operators move to densify macro networks with small cells, tackle in-building wireless and evolve to new technologies such as 5G, LAA (Licensed Assisted Access), unlicensed and shared spectrum technologies such as OnGo in the U.S., and MulteFire,” said Nick Marshall, research director at ABI Research. “These transitions are occurring against a backdrop of continuous technology evolution as networks upgrade to include MIMO, Massive MIMO, 256-QAM and carrier aggregation,” continued Marshall.

Spending on indoor equipment which represents 27 percent of this market today will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5 percent to represent a value of 42 percent of the total by 2023. The Asia-Pacific region, which includes some of the largest and growing RAN markets in the world, will continue to dominate the market with a share of 58 percent of the market, with North America and Europe ranking a distant second and third respectively. Sales of infrastructure equipment in the North American and Asia-Pacific regions will continue to be dominated by replacement and upgrades to LTE with the addition of 5G equipment gaining share starting in 2019.

“While the overall market is healthy, the underlying technology transitions are complex and only those vendors that can leverage them stand to benefit--these vendors include Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE,” Marshall concluded. However, it is not only the traditional vendors which will benefit as these technology transitions take hold, many specialist vendors stand ready to compete for share. These vendors include small cell specialists Acceleran, Airspan, Airvana/CommScope, Comba, Contela, ip. access, Parallel Wireless, Ruckus/Arris and SpiderCloud Wireless/Corning.