According to a newly published forecast report by Dell’Oro Group, the Radio Access Network (RAN) market is done expanding for now. Following the 40 percent to 50 percent ascent between 2017 and 2021, RAN revenues flattened out in 2022 and these trends extended to 1Q 2023.
“Even if it is early days in the broader 5G journey, the challenge now is the comparisons are becoming more challenging in the more mature 5G markets and the upside with the slower-to-adopt 5G regions is not enough to extend the growth streak,” said Stefan Pongratz, vice president at Dell’Oro Group. “Meanwhile, growth from new revenue streams including Fixed Wireless Access and enterprise LTE/5G is not ramping fast enough to change the trajectory. With 5G-Advanced not expected to trigger a new capex cycle, the question now is no longer whether RAN will grow. The question now is, rather, how much will the RAN market decline before 6G comes along?” continued Pongratz.
Additional highlights from the Mobile RAN 5-Year July 2023 Forecast Report:
- Global RAN is projected to decline at a 1 percent CAGR over the next five years.
- The less advanced 5G regions are expected to perform better while the more developed 5G regions, such as North America and China, are projected to record steeper declines.
- LTE is still handling the majority of the mobile data traffic, but the focus when it comes to new RAN investments is clearly on 5G. Even with the more challenging comparisons, 5G is projected to grow another 20 percent to 30 percent by 2027, which will not be enough to offset steep declines in LTE.
- With mmWave comprising a low single-digit share of the RAN market and skepticism growing about the MBB business case, it is worth noting that our position has not changed. We still envision that the mmWave spectrum will play a pivotal role in the long-term capacity roadmap.