More than 80% of the year-to-date growth in the open RAN market has been driven by large scale macro deployments in North America, according to the latest research from the Dell’Oro Group.
Open RAN deployments in the U.S. are propelled by Dish Wireless and Verizon, said Stefan Pongratz, vice president with the Dell’Oro Group.
The two American carriers, Verizon and Dish, are also having a big effect on which vendors are leading in open RAN.
Dell’Oro has identified Samsung, Fujitsu, NEC and Mavenir as the top four open RAN vendors.
Previously, Dell’Oro named Samsung, Fujitsu and NEC, but it has now added Mavenir because it has “more confidence in the numbers,” said Pongratz.
Verizon hasn’t explicitly stated that it’s using open RAN radios and basebands from Samsung, but perhaps that may be deduced because Samsung is one of Verizon’s major vendors, along with Nokia and Ericsson.
For its part, Dish is deploying mostly Fujitsu radios and using Mavenir for the baseband. However, Dish has also stated that it is using Samsung as a vendor, so its open RAN equipment mix could morph as it continues deploying.
Dell’Oro stated, “Preliminary findings suggest the regional drivers that shaped the open RAN market in the first half of 2022 extended into the third quarter, propelling open RAN revenues to more than double on a year-over-year basis.”
One interesting development is that open RAN is seeing some “non-multi-vendor” deployments where operators are using the same vendor for the radios and the basebands. This seems to go against the whole point of open RAN, which was supposed to allow operators to mix and match equipment.
But Pongratz said open RAN still gives operators more flexibility in the future and puts pressure on suppliers when upgrades are needed.
Dell’Oro finds that the uptake of open RAN is having little effect on the proprietary RAN business of the top suppliers — Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, and Samsung. The data contained in Dell’Oro’s report suggests that the collective RAN share of the top 5 RAN suppliers declined by less than one percentage point between 2021 and 3Q22.
How can open RAN be growing, but not taking away from proprietary RAN?
“I would say the implications for the vendor shares are not as clear,” said Pongratz. "The pie hasn’t changed that much. The smaller suppliers need to improve their technologies and become more competitive.”
Dell’Oro has raised its short-term projections for open RAN, saying the technology will account for 6% to 10% of the RAN market in 2023.