5G and Beyond

RAN momentum checked by supply chain squeezes – Dell'Oro

Nine short months ago, market research firm Dell'Oro Group upped its full-year 2020 RAN spend estimates – covering 2G through to 5G – from a mid-single-digit rate year-on-year advance to 10%.

With the market fueled by 5G NR investments in North America and China, and with the pandemic apparently not making much of an impact, Dell'Oro reckoned that RAN spend in 2020 would top $35 billion.

Fast forward to Dell'Oro's publication of its latest Q3 2021 RAN report and projections are not being upped but lowered, due mainly to the pandemic's impact on supply chains.

"Most major suppliers, with the exception of Huawei, reported that supply-chain disruptions affected RAN in the third quarter," Dell'Oro analyst Stefan Pongratz told Light Reading via email.

The upshot is that while Dell'Oro still expects 10% year-on-year RAN growth during 2021, year-on-year spend is slated to be a much more sedate 3% in 2022. "More challenging comparisons combined with increased risks surrounding the supply chain will weigh on the market in 2022," said Pongratz.

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As it currently stands, Pongratz and his team calculate that 5G NR accounts for around half of the total RAN market from Q3 findings.

"The shift from proprietary RAN toward open RAN continues to gain momentum," he added, "though open RAN revenue growth is decelerating on a quarter-on-quarter basis." According to Dell'Oro, open RAN accounts for somewhere between 1% and 3% of the total RAN market.

Some things don't change

Global RAN vendor rankings, said Dell'Oro, remained unchanged. Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, and Samsung – in that order – remain the five market leaders.

Although adoption of Huawei 5G NR outside its domestic market has been affected by geopolitical pressures, Pongratz nonetheless notes that the Chinese supplier is "doing well with existing LTE footprints outside of China."

Preliminary estimates, says Dell'Oro, suggest Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung were the top three 5G RAN suppliers outside of China during Q3.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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