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RAN Research arm of Rethink Outlines 5G Market in New Report

By Ken Briodagh

A new report from the RAN Research arm of analyst firm Rethink Technology Research has taken a deep look at the landscape of 5G networking, and how these coming deployments will differ from past cellular network generations.

One key difference between mobile network deployments in the 5G era and those that came before will be the diversity of organizations building, managing and monetizing them, according to the report. For the first time, in the 5G era major deployments of cellular networks will be made by non-MNOs, RAN predicts. By 2025, although traditional operators will still dominate capex spending on wide area macro networks, almost one-third of budget on greenfield, localized and indoor networks will be spent by new entrants.

To plan deployment strategies for the IoT and other connected industries, resource allocation is a challenging calculus. The company said that this report is written as a roadmap of where the new money spend will come from: existing MNOs or new players broken out by regions.

The report, entitled “RAN investment growth will rely on alternative deployers,” was constructed by Caroline Gabriel, head of research, RAN, and reportedly shows how capex from the usual providers will fall by about 4% each year for the next 5 years, and it forecasts which sectors, in which regions, will help pick up the slack, as new customers spend hard to get into the 5G market. Until 2025, the report says, spending by alternative deployers, while making up less than 2 percent of the global market right now, will rise at a similar 4 percent annual rate.

Cumulatively to 2025, the author says, the industry will spend $51.8 billion, 43 percent of which will be invested by alternative operators.

The report identifies 8 categories for new players:

  • New licensed MNO like Rakuten and Reliance Jio
  • Heavy MVNO who build out some part of its own RAN
  • Private operator licensed, which deploys for private customers only
  • Private operator shared, but using shared spectrum
  • Neutral host licensed, deploying deploys wholesale-only networks
  • Neutral host shared, but in shared or unlicensed spectrum
  • Enterprise: Direct deployment by enterprise
  • City: Direct deployment by a municipality

Companies mentioned in the report: Altice USA, AT&T, Bosch, Charter, Com-cast, Crown Castle, DenseAIR, Digital Colony, Dish Network, Free mobile, Iliad, iWireless, SK Telekom, Rakuten, Reliance Jio, Zayo.

The report is available for purchase here.  


Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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