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Predictions 2022: Mobile core network market

Before looking at 2022, let’s look back one year and see how we did in 2021 compared to what we were thinking in 2020. Just a reminder when looking at 2021, we only have three quarters of actual results and the fourth quarter is still an estimate. The current projected 2021 revenues for the Mobile Core Network (MCN) market are predicted to come in 13% below what we thought at the end of 2020. However, 2021 is expected to have a growth rate of 6% Y/Y. For 2022, we project a growth rate of 8% Y/Y.

So what happened? The 2021 4G MCN market came in 13% below expectations, apparently, due to Communication Service Providers (CSPs) having enough installed capacity to carry them through the pandemic, or the pandemic slow down the installation of more capacity. We now project the 4G MCN growth rate of -8% Y/Y for 2021 and flat Y/Y for 2022.

The 2021 5G MCN market came in 10% below our expectations from 2020, and this is due to the lack of more aggressive 5G Standalone (SA) network buildout than anticipated. We count 13 CSPs that commercially deployed 5G SA networks for enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) in 2021, and they were nowhere close to the aggressiveness in breadth and depth of the buildouts that we saw by the Chines SPs in 2020, or for that matter in 2021. We thought all three CSPs in Korea would have launched by now, but so far only KT has launched. And we expected AT&T and Verizon in the US, and the CSPs in Switzerland to have launched 5G SA in 2021. In spite of these disappointments, the projected growth rate for 2021 is 61% Y/Y for 2021 and lowering to 18% Y/Y for 2022 due to the expected decline in growth rate by the Chinese CSPs.

We were closer to the IMS Core forecast for 2021, only being 3% below the current forecast for 2021. The growth rate for 2021 is now projected to be 5% Y/Y for 2021 and 8% for 2022 as more CSPs upgrade their voice networks to VoLTE or VoNR in preparation for their 5G SA launches.

The outlook is still positive for the overall MCN market growth rate with a 6% Y/Y for 2021 and 8% for 2022 being driven by the expansion of existing 5G SA networks and new 5G SA networks poised to launch for the 5G MCN and IMS Core markets. CT Bureau

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