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5G network densification and mMIMO will drive cellular infrastructure spending

Massive MIMO (mMIMO) is proving to be the catalyst that will fuel infrastructure vendor revenue in the foreseeable future. This is especially the case in the Asia Pacific, where mobile network operators are expected to deploy 28.3 million units representing more than 78% of the total mMIMO market by 2026, despite the banning of Chinese vendors in the Western World. According to a new report published by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, the installed base mMIMO market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 63.8% between 2020 to 2026 and reach US$58.2 billion by 2026. Furthermore, 5G densification and mMIMO will account for approximately 73% of the outdoor revenue reaching US$97.3 billion by 2026.

“mMIMO enable Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to offer the best in class service to end users while leveraging cell site infrastructure and spectrum assets acquired for 5G,” says Johanna Alvarado, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “The adoption of the different configurations depends on multiple factors such as user density, cell site characteristics, local regulations, and clutter features. For example, Chinese operators are deploying mMIMO radios mainly in 64T64R configuration while in South Korea, operators are mainly deploying 32T32R mMIMO due to space and mast weight constraints,” Alvarado explains.

In addition, in-building wireless will represent approximately 22% of the total mobile network infrastructure revenue in the world market, reaching US$34.4 billion by 2026. “Protocols such as 5G NR-Unlicensed (5G NR-U), Citizens Broadband Radio Systems (CBRS), Licensed Shared Access (LSA), and locally licensed spectrum will fuel the acceleration of small cell deployments in the enterprise domain,” adds Alvarado.

Another exciting and innovative technology in the 5G era is Open RAN. The market dynamics of open RAN are affected by multiple factors. For example, the geopolitical environment that resulted in the ban of Chinese infrastructure vendors, the performance of existing open RAN networks, and technological developments will affect the technology’s penetration across the different regions. “However, it is expected that the revenue of the Open Ran market will grow at a CAGR of 126.7%, representing approximately 17.6% of the total outdoor revenue reaching US$ 23.6 billion by 2026,” Alvarado concludes. ABI Research

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