Open RAN benefits will be ‘$285 billion in 10 years’
A new report shows that the economic benefits from open RAN could reach at least US$285 billion in only 10 years, as networks are disaggregated.
The report, by market research company Analysys Mason, quotes Attilio Zani (pictured), executive director of the Facebook-backed Telecom Infra Project (TIP).
He said: “Disaggregated networks are the future, and they are being built at speed in the present. The value of those networks is evident. If we double down on investment now, it will pay dividends in the future.”
The Analysys Mason report says the margins of many operators have been under pressure due to commoditisation, competition and increasing investment needs brought about by explosive demand growth.
The move to 5G is particularly challenging for operators, it adds. “The business case remains unproven, especially when considering the range of new services that 5G is envisioned to support in future, and the investments required are large.”
Zani said: “Through the pandemic, it has become clear just how vital the telecoms industry is to the functioning of our societies. But with half the world still without access to the internet and operators’ margins under pressure, the situation is unsustainable.”
The report suggested that improved network cost efficiency is key to making these investments possible, in particular through infrastructure sharing, carve-out of passive infrastructure and radio access network (RAN) sharing models.
“Telecom stakeholders are also coming together in a number of industry initiatives to open up and standardise interfaces between different network components.”
David Abecassis, partner at Analysys Mason, said: “Open and disaggregated networks present a great opportunity for telecoms supply chains to transform radically. By building on operators’ requirements through rapid innovation in hardware and software, the industry can hope to achieve improved unit economics, open up new investment opportunities in hard to cover areas, and ultimately improve the resilience of telecoms supply chain.”
Moving to open RAN will add $285 billion in real gross domestic product (GDP) globally, says Analysys Mason in the report, in addition to $19 billion in real consumer surplus gains, over the period 2021 to 2030. “By the end of this period, open RAN could add $91 billion to global GDP annually,” it adds.