Five ways to get open RAN deployment back on track

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The first commercial deployments of open RAN networks have been announced. But operators are unsure whether to deploy quickly for first-mover advantage or play it safe and wait for more proof points. We explore the causes of open RAN inertia and how operators can get deployments back on track.


Format: PDF filePages: 23 pagesAuthor: Anna BoylePublication Date: July 2023

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Table of Figures
  • Consensus for open RAN has crystallised but only trailblazers are deploying at scale
    • The state of open RAN deployment
  • Ecosystem immaturity and transformation inertia are holding back open RAN roll out
    • Direct legacy comparison ROI case is weak
    • Lack of parity proof points on energy efficiency and performance
    • Perceived barrier of bringing in the skills, processes and culture of cloud-native
  • Five reasons why open RAN deployments will get back on track
    • New silicon is coming
    • The performance parity gap will close (largely driven by RIC innovation)
    • The ROI is there if operators allow enough time for the benefits to be realised
    • Operators can realise open RAN benefits now (by deploying aspects of the RIC on legacy networks)
    • SIs will help operators to master cloud-native networks
  • Conclusion
  • Index

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Global deployments of open RAN, 2016-2023
  • Figure 2: Open RAN, vRAN, and C-RAN characteristics
  • Figure 3: Open RAN trials and pilots by leading players up to 2022
  • Figure 4: Commercial open RAN deployments, 2020-2025
  • Figure 5: Operators’ predictions for the implementation of open RAN
  • Figure 6: Five reasons why open RAN will get back on track
  • Figure 7: RIC location and functionality explained
  • Figure 8: Indicative matrix of RIC application solutions’ scope and impact
  • Figure 9: RIC applications for power management


Technologies and industry terms referenced include: AI, brownfield operators, C-RAN, capex, cloud-native, COTS hardware, CSPs, greenfield operators, KPIs, ML, O-RAN Alliance, open RAN, opex, POCs, RAN, rApps, RIC, silicon, SIs, vRAN, xApps