LightTrends Newsletter

Open vRAN soars in a sluggish divided 1Q22 wireless infrastructure market

May 2022

LightCounting releases its 1Q22 Wireless Infrastructure Market Size, Share, and Forecast

Partially disrupted by supply-chain and logistical issues, and marked by the war in Ukraine, 5G (RAN and core) and open vRAN were the 2 bright spots of a slow wireless infrastructure market, which declined at high double digits sequentially and barely budged year over year (YoY). In fact, open vRAN, which accounted for 4% of global wireless infrastructure sales in the quarter, was the only category that grew significantly sequentially and YoY.

Overall, Ericsson and Huawei are neck and neck in global wireless infrastructure market share, but Ericsson kept its #1 spot for global RAN sales. Strong open vRAN sales helped Fujitsu and NEC gain share; Nokia continued to increase its share at the expense of Huawei and ZTE; and Samsung also saw its share rise. In mobile core networks, China continues to cement Huawei’s and ZTE’s market share dominance: the 2 vendors command 60% of the market at this point. However, strong wins reported by Ericsson and Nokia should change the dynamics in the next few quarters.

“The market equilibrium between the 2 spheres of influence—the East led by China vs. the West defined as the U.S. and its allies—was again in full display: China and the few countries aligned with it made a wireless infrastructure market that accounted for 47% of global sales while the West made up for the rest. This is in line with what we have been reporting since 3Q21,” said Stéphane Téral, Chief Analyst at LightCounting Market Research.

We have not changed our forecast and maintain our view that the market is poised for a low digit growth and to peak this year. After this year’s peak, our model points to a slow single-digit declining market. This bell-shaped pattern reflects the differences in regional and national agendas, including the COVID-19 impact as well as the impact of “the 2-year step function”—2 years (2019 and 2020) in a row of double-digit growth. The model considers all the 5G 3-year rollout plans we have gathered from many service providers and indicates strong activity through 2022 and 2023.

About the report:

Wireless Infrastructure quarterly report analyzes the wireless infrastructure market worldwide and covers 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G radio access network (RAN) and core network nodes. It presents historical data from 2016 to 2021 of quarterly market size and vendor market shares, and a detailed market forecast through 2027 for 2G/3G/4G/5G RAN, including open vRAN, and core networks (EPC, vEPC, and 5GC) for each region (North America, Europe, Middle East Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean Latin America). The historical data accounts for the sales of more than 30 wireless infrastructure vendors, including vendors that shared confidential sales data with LightCounting. The market forecast is based on a model correlating wireless infrastructure vendor sales with 20 years of service provider network rollout pattern analysis and upgrade and expansion plans.

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