Tier 1 telcos to drive Open RAN’s second growth cycle – report

  • The Open RAN sector has so far mainly been supported by investments in a few select markets, including Japan and the US
  • But there’s a second wave of growth set to start in 2025, according to a new report from Téral Research
  • It expects to see rapid growth in the second half of the decade and forecasts that the market will be worth $8bn in 2029

The market for Open RAN systems is set for a second growth spurt starting in 2025, driven by significant deployments by major network operators, with the market on course to grow from about $1bn in 2023 to $8bn by 2029, according to a new forecast from Téral Research.

The analyst firms’ founder, long-time telecom sector analyst Stéphane Téral, noted in his Open vRAN Market report that following an initial burst of investment in open virtual RAN (vRAN) systems, mainly in Japan (NTT Docomo, KDDI, Rakuten Mobile) and the US (Dish Network), there has been a lull in market activity. 

However, according to Téral, more than 150 network operators are “actively testing and/or deploying Open RAN… [but] the shift from early greenfield Open RAN adopters, which have completed their network buildouts, to brownfield networks has been slow,” with the sector valued at just over $1bn and led by Samsung Networks in terms of sales. 

Téral doesn’t expect the market to move much this year but expects 2025 to be the “trigger year” for the next wave of growth, driven by the start of large-scale rollouts led by AT&T and Vodafone, with other major Tier 1 telcos starting to invest in smaller buildouts. “As a result, our unchanged long-term forecast points to total sales surpassing $8bn in 2029 with the market growing at a 2023-29 CAGR of 37%, and accounting for 29% of total global RAN sales, up from 4.6% in 2024,” noted the analyst in this LinkedIn post

He expects the coming years to also witness some consolidation in the Open RAN technology sector, which has expanded to about 60 companies “spanning the whole supply chain from chipset to hardware and software.” However, this will suffer “some degree of vendor consolidation and restructuring, which may be further exacerbated by the major Tier 1 CSPs favouring the single-vendor approach for system integration reasons,” added the analyst. 

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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