China grows, rest of world falls in 5G mobile core network market


China is growing fast in the mobile core network market, outstripping sales in the rest of the world, according to a new report.

Dell’Oro Group says the mobile core network (MCN) market in China grew at a double-digit percentage year-on-year growth rate in the second quarter compared to the market outside China, which fell – or “had a negative Y/Y growth rate”, in Dell’Oro’s term.

“The pace of 5G MCN investments in the rest of the world pales by comparison to China,” said Dell’Oro research director Dave Bolan. “China has led the way since 2020 and does not look like it is ready to slow down.”

The China region invested 75% in 5G MCN infrastructure during the quarter, while outside China, only 20% was invested in 5G MCN infrastructure, says the Mobile Core Network and Multi-Access Edge Computing quarterly report.

Bolan said that China Broadnet, a newcomer to the Chinese market, launched its 5G standalone (5G SA) network in the second quarter, the fourth mobile operator to do so in China. “Only two other 5G SA networks have launched in 2022 – KDDI in Japan, and Dish Wireless in the United States. As a result, when it comes to 5G SA networks with a 5G core, China leads the world.”

The report also covers the multi-access edge computing (MEC) market,

Bolan said: “And they lead the world in 5G MEC deployments and 5G applications, enabling consumers and enterprises to do more than the combined markets outside of China, even though they only account for one-fourth of the MCN market investments.”

He added: “While many service providers throughout the world talk about the future of 5G with some showcase applications and what it can do, it is a reality in China, at scale.”

According to Dell’Oro, the top five global 5G MCN suppliers in the quarter are Huawei, Ericsson, ZTE, Nokia and NEC.