“As carriers pulled back on capex and focused on Free Cash Flow, “5G” mentions saw a precipitous decline on almost every carrier earnings call last year.” However, she is somewhat optimistic for 2024, “2024 will be the year when carriers will need to justify the spectrum spend they paid billions of dollars for only a few short years ago. Although the 5G consumer killer app may already be here (FWA [1.]), the key trend to watch is the development of enterprise solutions for 5G. If carriers can tap into their deep enterprise relationships to play ball here – this 5G thing becomes a lot more real.”
Note 1. It’s quite surprising that Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) has emerged as the most popular 5G deployment, especially from T-Mobile US and Verizon. That’s because it was NOT one of the three 5G use cases defined by ITU-R (Enhanced Mobile Broadband, Machine to Machine Communications and URLLC).
Looking ahead, Dell’Oro is forecasting global RAN to record a second consecutive year of RAN contractions in 2024, though the pace of the decline should be more moderate. The regional dynamics will change as the pendulum swings towards the negative in India. Wireless capex in the US is still on track to decline. Yet we are forecasting the North America RAN market to grow, implying a greater portion of the capex will be allocated towards the RAN segment in 2024
In summary, 2024 is unlikely to emerge as the most exhilarating year from a broader RAN revenue growth perspective. Even so, within the market, there will be pockets undergoing significant changes. While some of the upcoming growth areas will remain relatively small, 2024 is poised to be an important transition year for various wireless sub-segments. As always, the competitive RAN landscape will continue to be fierce. Despite the anticipated decline in certain aspects of the RAN market, it should be an eventful year.
MTN Consulting: Generative AI hype grips telecom industry; telco CAPEX decreases while vendor revenue plummets