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Automation of the RAN: An Operators Roadmap to vRAN and Open RAN

Despite the looming recession, $7 bn will be spent on RAN Automation solutions by 2026, according to a recently released report by Rethink Technology Research.

MNOs are looking at automation, not just as a necessary step for vRAN, but as a way of reducing OPEX, especially those with a large NOC. Some MNOs aim to reduce NOC operating cost by a factor of up to 20%, and some have already taken these steps.

But automation of the RAN delivers more than just reduced OpEx, it also allows MNOs to deploy an agile and responsive cloud-based network that will allow introduction of new services, whilst adapting to changes in traffic and customer demand.

According to the report, 58% of MNOs see automation of the RAN as a way of reducing operating and power costs, with additional benefits being improved SLAs, and agility in responsiveness to user requirements; yet clarity of the ROI is still needed for some of those surveyed.

By 2026 21% of MNOs expect a high percentage of the RAN to be automated, and 10% say their RANs will be fully automated.

“MNOs will spend $32bn from 2022 to 2026, and of that $7bn will go on RAN automation. Of that forecast amount $3bn will be spent on components related to vRAN or Open RAN, showing that most MNOs’ RAN automation strategies will be closely linked with vRAN and/or Open RAN,” forecasts Rethink.

Major players in this segment are Rakuten, Rakuten Symphony, Dish Networks, Swisscom, O-RAN Alliance, 3GPP, Amdocs, Vodafone, Google, Cardinality.IO, and Deutsche Telekom.

CT Bureau

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