Open RAN is Gaining in Popularity, but There’s Still Work to be Done in Europe

The Open RAN (Radio Access Network) model is gaining in popularity in the telecommunications landscape and this trend will continue in the coming years.

RAN and Open RAN

What is Open RAN technology? The main difference between traditional RAN and Open RAN is that the former is delivered by single vendor and the latter can be delivered by multiple vendors working together. Traditional RAN has many disadvantages, the main one being that there is really no choice – the market is controlled by three or four vendors globally, which affects pricing and flexibility.

RAN telecom meaning comparing to Open RAN (Radio Access Network)

Security is also worth mentioning; in the traditional RAN approach, when something is wrong with the vendor it’s extremely difficult to replace it. In the Open RAN, there is always an option of removing just that one non-working part without changing the whole system. From the customers’ perspective, a vendor-agnostic approach is desirable.

Open RAN Europe

In 2021, the major players in Europe’s telecommunications landscape (Orange, Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom) threw their weight behind Open RAN. These organizations have not only combined forces to urge the European Commission and EU Member States to providing political and economic support for the development of Open RAN markets, they have also warned that this is essential if Europe is not to fall behind the United States in Asia in this field.1

To dispel any doubts that Open RAN will expand significantly in the very near future, a study by Analysis Mason puts figures to the already persuasive arguments. In a European study encompassing 98 companies, the organization’s research concluded that global revenues for Open RAN suppliers could reach EUR 36.1 billion by 2026 alone. Within that conclusion comes a warning which echoes those of the big five telcos to Europe: if operators still need to buy in Open RAN solutions from elsewhere by 2026, it could cost the region up to EUR 15.6 billion.1

Thus, with Open RAN already having taken such a leap forward in 2021, there’s every reason (and impetus) to expect that this will continue and even gather pace in 2022 and beyond.

1.Europe urged to act now to build Open RAN Ecosystem, Stephan Broszio, November 2021


Rafał Sanecki

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