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Changes to the RAN ecosystem: MNOs should look beyond traditional vendors, but tread with care

Roberto Kompany Senior Analyst, Research

"MNOs are looking beyond leading RAN vendors to reduce 5G RAN deployment costs, and are collaborating with start-ups that are developing new initiatives based on non-proprietary architecture."

RAN capex was previously anticipated to fall by 20% in the 2020s, but vendor consolidations and the need for a higher density of sites to meet mobile data traffic growth has offset the cost benefits delivered by virtualisation activities. However, mobile network operators (MNOs) can collaborate with start-ups that are working on new non-proprietary RAN architecture to drive down capex, but they must be aware of the risks.

This report provides:

  • recommendations for both MNOs and start-up vendors regarding collaborations and the creation of win-win scenarios to capture new opportunities
  • a discussion about the challenges that MNOs face as they plan 5G network roll-outs
  • a forecast of the total mobile capex and the 4G and 5G RAN capex
  • an analysis of RAN vendors’ market share by revenue
  • an analysis of the barriers that MNOs face when trying to use open platforms including non-proprietary architecture
  • an overview of what start-ups should do to reduce barriers and mitigate risks.