Dell’Oro expects double-digit Open RAN growth

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Over the new few years, Open RAN worldwide revenues are expected to grow at double-digit rates, according to Dell’Oro Group. The analyst firm forecasts in a new report that cumulative Open RAN investments – including hardware, software, and firmware, but not services — will near $10 billion by 2025.

“The conversation and the overall attitude towards Open RAN has clearly changed over the past six months,” said Stefan Pongratz, VP and analyst with the Dell’Oro Group. “It is no longer a question if Open RAN will happen, and the question now is more on the timing and the scope.”

The forecast estimates that Open RAN will account for more than 10% of the overall Radio Access Network market by 2025, which Dell’Oro said was reflective of “healthy traction in multiple regions.” The firm added that cumulative virtualized RAN revenues (which it defines as the proportion of RAN baseband/compute capex that will utilize general-purpose processors for centralized units and/or distributed units) are expected to pass the $5 billion point during the forecast period.

The global Open RAN landscape has been bolstered just this week by news that Japanese operator NTTDoCoMo is putting together a 5G O-RAN ecosystem with a dozen partners, aiming to speed up the introduction of Open RAN to network operators. NEC has also taken similar steps to promote the use of Open RAN by operators, establishing an Open RAN laboratory in India last December as well as a center of excellence in the U.K.; NEC has taken the role of systems integrator as O2 tests Open RAN in the U.K.

Last October, a second series of global plugtest events focused on O-RAN interoperability garnered participation from 55 companies, including carrier hosts such as NTT DOCOMO, KDDI, SoftBank, Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, TIM, Telefónica, Orange, BT, Verizon and AT&T.

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