Wednesday, March 27, 2024

State of Open RAN 2024: Executive Summary


The 2023 Open RAN market ended with a bang with AT&T awarding to Ericsson and Fujitsu a $14 billion deal to convert 70% of its traffic to run on Open RAN by end of 2026. 2024 started equally loud with the $13 billion acquisition of Juniper Networks from HPE on the thesis of the former company’s progress in telecoms AI and specifically in RAN intelligence with the launch of their RIC program.

2023 also saw the long-awaited launch of Drillish 1&1 in Germany, the first Open RAN greenfield in Europe, as well as the announcement from Vodafone that they will release a RAN RFQ that will see 30% of its 125,000 global sites dedicated to Open RAN.

Commercial deployments are now under way in western Europe, spurred by Huawei replacement mandates.

On the vendor’s front, Rakuten Symphony seems to have markedly failed to capitalize on Altiostar’s acquisition and convince brownfield network operators to purchase telecom gear from a fellow network operator. While Ericsson has announced its support for Open RAN with conditions, Samsung has been the vendor making the most progress with convincing market share growth across the geographies it covers. Mavenir has been steadily growing. A new generation of vendors have taken advantage of the Non-Real-Time RIC / SMO opportunity to enter the space. Non-traditional RAN vendors such as VMWare and Juniper Networks or SON vendors like Airhop have grown the most in that space, together with pure new entrants App players such as Rimedo Labs. With the acquisition of VMWare and Juniper Networks, both leaders in the RIC segment, 2024 could be live or die for this category, as the companies are reevaluating their priorities and aligning commercial interest with their acquirers.

On the technology side, the O-RAN alliance has continued its progress, publishing new releases while establishing bridgeheads with 3GPP and ETSI to facilitate the inclusion of Open RAN in the mainstream 5G advanced and 6G standards. The accelerator debate between inline and look aside architectures has died down, with the first layer 1 abstraction layers allowing vendors to effectively deploy on different silicon with minimal adjustment. Generative AI and large language models have captured the industry’s imagination and Nvidia has been capitalizing on the seemingly infinite appetite for specialized computing in cloud and telecom networks.

This report provides an exhaustive review of the key technology trends, vendors product offering, and strategies, ranging from silicon, servers, cloud CaaS, Open RUs, DU, CUs, RICs, apps and SMOs in the open RAN space in 2024.

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