The Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) market is rapidly expanding and is expected to exceed the traditional RAN market for the first time around 2027-2028, according to ABI Research. The global tech market advisory firm expects the total CAPEX spent on Open RAN radio units (RUs) for public outdoor networks, including both macro and small cells, will reach US$40.7 billion in 2026.
Cumulative unit shipments will be 9.9 million during the same year. Meanwhile, the total revenue of Open RAN radios for indoor enterprise networks could be as much as US$6.7 billion in 2026, with cumulative unit shipments expected at 29.4 million, according to the firm.
“The Open RAN opportunity invites various stakeholders to bring their best in class technologies and hardware/software components to contribute to building a flexible, secure, agile, and multi-vendor interoperable network solution,” said Jiancao Hou, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “In addition, trade wars and the global pandemic of COVID-19 have resulted in tremendous restrictions on the telecom supply chain and disrupt the evolution of new technologies. These effects will accelerate the development of Open RAN and open networks.”
ABI Research points to Japanese greenfield network operator Rakuten Mobile as an example to deploy this new approach. Other operators are also active in the field include Dish Network in the U.S., Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Turkcell in the EU and other geological regions. The Open RAN supply chain is also expanding with Altiostar, Mavenir, and Parallel Wireless leading the way while new entrants are announced every week.
“ABI Research expects greenfield installations, as well as private enterprise networks and public consumer networks in rural/uncovered areas, to drive the deployment of Open RAN throughout the entire forecast period,” Hou points out. “Open RAN can introduce many advantages to the enterprise market, including infrastructure reconfigurability, network sustainability, and deployment cost efficiency. On the other hand, these small and easily manageable network use cases will likely lower the entry barrier for Open RAN.”
ABI Research sees new entrants will lead the early deployment for Open RAN, but they will be increasingly challenged by tier-one vendors and system integrators for both public cellular implementations and enterprise deployment.
The findings are from ABI Research’s Open RAN market data report.
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