The global C-RAN market was valued at $936.3 million in 2018 and is projected to register a CAGR of 15.9% during the forecast period (2019–2024). On the basis of application, the targeted outdoor urban areas category is expected to witness the fastest growth, with a CAGR of 17.5%. The market in this category is primary driven by the increasing penetration of the 5G technology and the growing focus on network equipment cost reduction.
Compatibility with Indoor Small Cells
Compatibility of cloud RAN technology with indoor small cells is one of the key trends observed in the C-RAN market. In the traditional RAN technology, telecom operators find it difficult to establish infrastructure for indoor small cells without backhaul. Owing to compatibility limitations with traditional RAN, small cells deployment becomes challenging, as it requires automation for deployment and maintenance, optimization of radio frequency, and continuous support. Virtualization in C-RAN acts as a plug-and-play model, which provides high speed, ensures reliability, and reduces latency to a great extent and is also compatible with indoor small cells.
Telcos Aiming to Reduce Capital Expenditure
The increasing focus of telecom operators on the adoption of the 5G technology is one of the major factors driving the growth of the cloud RAN market. Currently, most of the telecom operators have traditional RAN deployed, which consists of a baseband unit, remote radio unit, and fronthaul. However, such infrastructure requires networking hardware, which, in turn, increases the capital expenditure and operational costs. To avoid such expenses, operators are increasingly preferring C-RAN, as it is software-based and centralizes the baseband units, thus offering higher scalability.
Segmentation Analysis of C-RAN Market
During the forecast period, the market is projected to witness faster growth in demand for C-RAN for indoor deployment, due to the growing requirement for better network coverage in indoor environments, including office spaces and residential areas.
Based on component, the services category is expected to witness the fastest growth in the C-RAN market during the forecast period. This can be attributed to the growing adoption of software-based solutions, which is resulting in increased demand for professional services. Since the technology is comparatively new, there is a high requirement for associated services, such as training, network support, and security check.
Of the two network types, LTE & 5G is expected to continue holding the larger share in the C-RAN market, due to the rising demand for virtualization solutions to support the deployment of the 5G technology.
Among various application areas, large public venues led the C-RAN market in 2018. The category includes public places such as malls, stadiums, and shopping complexes. Such places are often crowded, resulting in increased network density. Thus, the favorability for C-RAN deployment in such areas is high, as it offers scalability, improves network coverage, and provides enhanced user experience.
Between the two architecture types, virtualized/cloud RAN is expected to demonstrate faster growth in the market during the forecast period. With the increase in the penetration of the 5G network technology, the demand for virtual architecture is expected to be high in the near future.
Geographical Analysis of C-RAN Market
North America generated the highest revenue in the C-RAN market in 2018. This can be ascribed to the high LTE network coverage, deployment of 5G network, and increasing investments in new technologies in the region. Telecom operators in the U.S. and Canada are increasingly investing in technically advanced infrastructure and working on research and development for the deployment of new solutions.
The C-RAN market, during the forecast period, is expected to witness the fastest growth in APAC. This is due to the high adoption of the LTE network technology and the rising demand for 5G network. Moreover, the region is witnessing growth in the number of small- and medium-sized enterprises, due to which the demand for cost-effective and scalable networks is increasing.
Competitive Landscape of C-RAN Market
The global C-RAN market is highly competitive in nature and is characterized by the presence of large key players. C-RAN is an emerging technology, so market players are focusing on partnerships and R&D to introduce new solutions.
In February 2019, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. partnered with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide solutions that can help communication service providers in the deployment of 5G network and services. The companies plan to make 5G vRAN commercially available by leveraging Samsung’s system integration services and vRAN software solutions and HPE’s Edgeline EL8000 converged edge system.
Some of the other key players in the C-RAN market are Verizon Communications Inc., Ericsson Inc., Fujitsu Limited, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Cisco Systems Inc., Nokia Corporation, ZTE Corporation, NEC Corporation, and Intel Corporation.
C-RAN Market Segmentation
Market Segmentation by Deployment
Market Segmentation by Component
Market Segmentation by Network Type
Market Segmentation by Application
Market Segmentation by Architecture
Market Segmentation by Region