The global open RAN market will be worth US$3.2 billion in 2024, according to estimates by market research firm Omdia.
It is a 33% increase from Omdia’s previous estimation of US$2.4 billion.
Last year, the open RAN was worth only US$70 million.
Carriers were leading the way for open and virtual RAN development, Omdia said, while the ban against Huawei by the US government is also impacting growth.
Virtual RAN uses software to realize network functions. This increases the use of commercial off-the-shelf servers and chips, which US companies excel at.
Open RAN refers to carriers using multiple vendors to build their wireless networks instead of using one major vendor like Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE and Samsung Electronics.
New carrier Rakuten Mobile in Japan is building an open RAN. Long time carriers that need to worry about syncing open RAN with their old networks will inevitably be slow to adopt open RAN, people familiar with the matter said.
Carriers are hoping to reduce cost by adopting open RAN. Rakuten Mobile claimed it has reduced CAPEX by 40% and operating cost by 30% by building an open RAN. South Korean telecom equipment maker KMW is supplying 4G radio unit to the Japanese carrier.
However, wider adoption open RAN will hurt margins of telecom equipment makers. Market leaders Huawei and Ericsson aren’t mentioning open RAN publicly as much as other vendors. Ericsson said back in July that open RAN can’t be an alternative to high-performance 5G network.
Nokia and Samsung Network has been more active in adopting open RAN. Nokia is taking part in Rakuten Mobile’s network. Samsung was developing open RAN technology with South Korea companies Solid, FRTek and Innowireless.