RAN equipment growth driven by multiple technology transitions: report

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The global RAN base station equipment market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5% to exceed $26 billion in 2023 – when you count both outdoor and indoor RAN equipment, including macro base stations, outdoor/indoor small cells, and distributed antenna systems, says a new report from ABI Research.

Nick Marshall, research director at ABI Research, explains that today’s 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 United States, and MulteFire.

“These transitions are occurring against a backdrop of continuous technology evolution as networks upgrade to include MIMO, Massive MIMO, 256 QAM, and carrier aggregation,” said Marshall.

Spending on indoor equipment which represents 27% of this market today will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5% to represent a value of 42% 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% 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 said.

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, the report says. These vendors include small cell specialists Acceleran, Airspan, Airvana/CommScope, Comba, Contela, ip.access, Parallel Wireless, Ruckus/Arris, and SpiderCloud Wireless/Corning.

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