Telco Cloud Deployment Tracker Q1 2024: Cloud-native gathers momentum

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Telco cloud activity in 2024 is showing signs of growing momentum with 72 deployments in the year to date, in contrast to 90 for the whole of 2023. Even though many of these deployments are announced but yet to complete in 2024, there are improving prospects for vRAN and open RAN, alongside a positive outlook for 5G standalone.

vRAN is a stepping stone to full open RAN 

With 25 new telco cloud deployments added to our tracker in Q1 2024 and some positive noises from the industry about 5G SA deployments and open RAN deployment, we feel like cloud-native transformation is going apace at telcos worldwide.

On the vRAN/open RAN front, we have recorded 11 ongoing deployments for 2024, four of which were announced in Q1 2024. The operators involved have generally expressed a strong commitment to going live with these deployments during 2024.

The deployments announced this year are those of:

  • Ericsson vRAN at Telefonica Germany
  • Mavenir open RAN at Virgin Media O2 in the UK
  • Mavenir open RAN at STC in Saudi Arabia
  • Samsung vRAN at Telus in Canada.

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Impetus has also been given to vRAN/open RAN by AT&T’s deployment of Ericsson vRAN and Vodafone’s RFQ for 170,000 sites in Africa and Europe, both in Q4 2023.

As we define in the telco cloud tracker, vRAN incorporates O-RAN-compliant interfaces but is generally deployed as a pre-integrated solution optimised around the CU and DU software of the main vendor. Open RAN incorporates the open interfaces but is deployed as an open system, where the different layers of the stack are fully interchangeable.

The rise of vRAN lends support to our view that it is how open RAN will be deployed at scale. This is compelling when you see the telcos that are deploying vRAN: AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, DISH, NTT, Orange, Telefónica, Verizon and Vodafone. This does not herald the demise of open RAN proper, however: the trend generally is towards more open, multi-vendor platforms, and vRAN is an important step in this direction.

Global deployments of C-RAN, vRAN and open RAN, 2016-2024

Source: STL Partners

Detailed statistics of 2000+ telco cloud deployments by type of network functions, operators, vendors, countries and regions are available in the Excel spreadsheet which accompanies this report and can be visualised in our Tableau dashboards (subscriber-only content).

Table of contents

  • Summary of telco cloud activity in Q1 2024
  • Executive summary
  • Regional overview
  • Operator view
  • Vendor view

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David Martin


David Martin

Senior Analyst

David Martin has specialised on telco cloud at STL Partners since 2016, writing numerous strategic reports on different aspects of the topic. He also originated STL’s Telco Cloud Deployment Tracker: a major database of commercial telco cloud deployments by leading telcos worldwide. He is a telecoms analyst of around 25 years’ experience. David obtained a First Class degree in French and German at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he also pursued doctoral studies in French.