Sponsored by Qualcomm

Open RAN can become a disruptive trend that will move the telco infrastructure
market from a static, vertical market with few players using proprietary solutions to a dynamic, horizontal market with a multitude of players, similar to the innovative, dynamic, and well-established Personal Computer (PC) and cloud computing markets.

The current financial, geopolitical, and pandemic global environment has illustrated the importance of Open RAN telco networks as vital infrastructure. The upgrade of networks to 5G creates a window of opportunity for Open RAN. Governments and policy makers must now foster and stimulate the growth of Open RAN telco networks, while mobile operators urgently take bolder steps to introduce the new technology into their existing networks to ensure that future crises do not affect their network deployments, and to facilitate new innovative 5G network deployments at scale. This can be achieved in small, low-risk initial deployments and scenarios, both of which will create the expertise that will be vital in large-scale deployments in the following years.

ABI Research expects the Open RAN ecosystem to reach a total market of US$30 billion in 2030, climbing higher than the traditional RAN market, which will be a total of US$20 billion. The transition will not happen overnight for public cellular networks that connect consumers to the network, but will be vital, where ABI Research expects Open RAN to drive a US$10 billion greenfield market.

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Although 2020 has brought numerous challenges to the telecom industry, including geopolitical stresses, the COVID-19 pandemic, and 5G deployment challenges, these events have also highlighted the critical role of fixed and mobile telecom networks in providing economic resilience and national vitality during a period of unprecedented disruption. Existing 4G and 5G networks have reliably transitioned millions of workers to home-based offices and students to online classrooms, while also enabling widespread adoption of high bandwidth video communication, collaboration and entertainment services. It’s safe to say that the events of 2020 have forever changed how we work, learn and live and that our national telecom infrastructure wil l have to change as well. Several market developments are proving that the telco domain is ripe for change and for innovation and, in fact, needs it. Geopolitical concerns are restricting the number of vendors able to deploy 4G and 5G networks in certain regions, while several mobile operators now state that the established vendor lock-in is restricting innovation and does not allow more favorable horizontal market conditions. Reliance on a few select and very large vendors creates not just market and financial risk for mobile operators, but systemic risk for the overall telco landscape in the United States and other countries.