Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers is intended to help communications service providers identify and evaluate network equipment providers for their 5G network infrastructure. This end-to-end 5G network infrastructure includes RAN, core network, transport and network infrastructure services.

The core capabilities of the 5G infrastructure include:
  • Radio access network equipment, including radio units (RUs), baseband units (BBUs) for 5G new radio and 4G LTE. Examples include the following:
    • Passive antennas, RU, AAU, virtualized BBU (vBBU), BBU, DU, CU, vDU, vCU and small cell
Additional 5G technologies and capabilities are necessary for supporting CSPs’ effective 5G deployment. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Core network equipment, including 5G next-generation core and evolved packet core (EPC):
    • UPF, AMF, SMF, PCF, AUSF, UDM, NSSF, NRF, NEF, NWDAF for 5G
    • MME, S-GW, P-GW, IMS, HSS, PCRF, EPC/virtualized EPC (vEPC) for 4G LTE
  • Transport network equipment: Fronthaul, midhaul, backhaul and wireless backhaul
  • Network infrastructure services: Design, build, run and support
This 5G network infrastructure discussed in this research covers both 5G non-stand-alone (NSA) and stand-alone (SA) architecture. Also, 5G dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) that reuses current 4G LTE spectrum bandwidth and 4G infrastructure is covered.
This research addresses wireless CSPs that deploy 5G networks and provide communications services to subscribers over the public network infrastructure.  Private mobile networks (for example, private LTE, private 5G and local 5G) that are deployed by enterprises are not included.
The worldwide market for end-to-end 5G network infrastructure mainly includes 10 vendors that provide at least radio access network elements for 5G (see Figure 1).
3 Leaders:
  • Ericsson is a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company that offers services, software and infrastructure in information and communications technology for CSPs. Ericsson has long had a strong focus on 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)-based mobile networks, and it was one of the leaders in terms of numbers of LTE deals. The company’s 5G offerings, including Ericsson Radio System, 5G Core, Orchestration and 5G Transport, together with its professional services, help it maintain a strong position to win 5G business.
  • Huawei is a Chinese information and communications technology (ICT) provider, and its business spans carrier business, consumer business and enterprise business. The company’s 5G market success came from its end-to-end robust cellular network portfolio, including macrocells, small cells, single RAN BBUs, converged core, transport network and professional services, together with devices. Huawei continues investing in 5G R&D, with the focus on network performance, capacity and energy efficiency using innovative hardware and software. The company plans to contribute to CSPs by continuously providing an enhanced 5G product portfolio.
  • Nokia is a Finnish multinational telecommunications and IT company. While Nokia’s telecom infrastructure business has grown through multiple acquisitions and mergers, such as Alcatel-Lucent, a new CEO took the helm of the company in August 2020 and announced a new operating model and strategy refresh. Its business focuses on mobile, fixed IP and optical networks, cloud, and network services, supported by patents and standards from Nokia Bell Labs. Nokia is one of the market leaders in terms of numbers of 4G LTE deals and is pursuing the same path with 5G contracts.

Visionaries:  ZTE, Samsung, NEC, Mavenir

Niche Players: Fujitsu, Rakuten Symphony (?), FiberHome Telecommunication Technologies (China)

One thought on “Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers

  1. Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says: “From research to rollout, we have invested heavily in 5G to ensure we have the best products, skills and field personnel to meet our customers’ needs. We believe that recognition as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant from Gartner reflects our technology leadership, market competitiveness, determination to innovate and commitment to our customers.”

    Ericsson, as an industry leader in 5G networks, currently has more than 130 commercial 5G agreements with unique communications service providers (CSPs) and powers 79 live 5G networks across the globe.

    Ericsson continuously evolves its end-to-end 5G offerings, which include Ericsson Radio System, 5G Core, Orchestration and 5G Transport as well as professional services. The company has introduced innovative software solutions such as Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, 5G carrier aggregation and Uplink Booster, which significantly improve coverage, user throughput and spectral efficiency.

    These solutions support service providers in deploying and evolving 5G to ensure the best end-user experience. In addition, Ericsson Radio System products delivered since 2015 can support 5G New Radio (NR) capability through remote software installation.

    Ericsson Digital Services offers a dual-mode 5G Core solution for smarter networks to drive smarter business, allowing communications service providers to offer a multitude of new business opportunities for mobile users and industries.

    Ericsson’s 5G Core solution combines an Evolved Packet Core and 5G Core network functions into a common cloud-native platform that supports 5G NR Standalone and Non-standalone, plus 4G, 3G and 2G.

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