Analysys Mason expects vRAN spending to bloom

Analysys Mason has issued a new report on telecom spending that predicted that spending on virtualized radio access network (vRAN) will increase to $37.7 billion by 2028.  

“This sub-category will therefore account for 59% of new RAN capex by 2028,” the analysts write. 

Analysys Mason said that the main drivers of RAN spending will be 5G expansion and the migration to 5G standalone, the adoption of vRAN, including Open RAN, and the move to massive MIMO antennas to improve network and spectral efficiency.

The analysts predicted that the industry will start to see more macro vRAN deployments this year and into 2024. “vRAN will require advanced cloud hardware, which is more expensive and power-hungry than integrated architectures, to deliver the same performance,”  they noted. 

The move to open RAN will take slightly longer, however, the analysts said. “It will be several years before open RANs meet the needs of 5G networks,” they said, but if standardization continues and ecosystems evolve, some macro vRAN deployments will be able to support open RANs from 2025.

While this cloudification of the network starts to intensify, Analysys Mason forecasted that the overall capital expenditure dedicated to the RAN will decline -0.1% over the period between now and 2028 to $63.8 billion. The analysts predict that spending on traditional RAN will decline at a CAGR of 7.9% over that period.

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