5G

Is 2024 the year for O-RAN? Dell'Oro says maybe

  • O-RAN revenues from North America and Asia-Pac will represent around 80% of global investments in the tech

  • China is not going down the O-RAN path

  • There will be more single vendor O-RAN deployments than multi-vendor

Despite a North American revenue stumble on Open RAN (O-RAN) in 2023, the region is expected to lead the race on deploying the specification between now and 2028, according to latest O-RAN report from Dell’Oro Group.

Stefan Pongratz, VP and analyst at the group, told Silverlinings in an email that: “North America is expected to lead the movement throughout the forecast period."

"The combined revenues for the North America and Asia Pacific regions will comprise around 80% of global investments," he said.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to our regular readers as major operators start to lay out their O-RAN strategies and vendors. Witness the recent announcement of a $14 billion O-RAN deal between AT&T and Ericsson, and Verizon saying that it had deployed 130,000 O-RAN compliant radios with Samsung, and is working on O-RAN gear with Ericsson.

Dell’Oro also notes, however, that Europe’s O-RAN revenue share is projected to nearly double between 2023 and 2028, as major operators like Vodafone start to get into the game.

Any and all O-RAN revenue will likely come from the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe over this five-year period.

“We are assuming China will not go in this direction,” Pongratz said.

With No. 1 RAN vendor Huawei cut out of the North American and European O-RAN market due to bans on its RAN gear in those areas, O-RAN may end up the plaything of Ericsson, Samsung and other smaller vendors, such as Mavenir.

Dell’Oro had previously said that O-RAN represented just 5% to 10% of the overall RAN market, which is itself in the doldrums right now.

Single player O-RAN?

Of course, the original concept behind open RAN was that it would allow operators to build more diversified multi-vendor networks, but this interest in this idea seems to be declining somewhat.

“Multi-vendor RAN is not fading but the business case is not as compelling as single-vendor Open RAN. In other words, we are forecasting multi-vendor RAN to grow. But it will not grow as fast as single-vendor Open RAN,” Pongratz told us.

“Over time, operators will incorporate more virtualization, intelligence, automation and O-RAN into their RAN roadmaps...the business case for multi-vendor RAN is less compelling,” Pongratz concluded.