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Planning for cloud-RAN now to ease 5G later: how vendors can lower the barriers to CSP adoption

Planning for cloud-RAN now to ease 5G later: how vendors can lower the barriers to CSP adoption

Market Study
Published: October 2016
Pages: 38 slides
Research from: Analysys Mason
Sector: Networks & Infrastructure

From: GBP 3845.00
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Cloud-RAN is a radical new architecture that separates the radio/antenna from the network functions, and virtualises the latter in a central location. The resulting flexibility is a significant enabler of 5G, allowing the operator to allocate resources where needed and making a far wider range of services viable. This report analyses the urgent business need for cloud-RAN for many mobile network operators (MNOs) and the key steps that vendors can take to address the barriers that are deterring many MNOs from adopting the technology.

This report:

  • establishes why a failure to plan for cloud-RAN will compromise the 5G business case for many MNOs
  • identifies the MNO groups that most need cloud-RAN
  • discusses the barriers to deployment
  • outlines the solutions that radio and IT vendors can provide to lower these barriers and accelerate adoption
  • identifies how open standards and creative solutions (championed by vendors) will enable profitable 4G and 5G models for MNOs and the wider service provider base.

Planning for cloud-RAN now to ease 5G later: how vendors can lower the barriers to CSP adoption

CSPs must start planning now for phased cloud-RAN migration, or risk limiting 5G-related opportunities. Vendor solutions, including hosting and open platforms, will help to reduce CSPs’ barriers to adoption.

In cloud-RAN, network functions are virtualised and centralised, enabling resources to be allocated flexibly. Our survey of 68 MNOs revealed that most find the benefits of this technology compelling, particularly in terms of operating cost efficiencies, as well as supporting service agility.

However, only 6% of operators in our survey had started to migrate to cloud-RAN, with many more MNOs reluctant to deploy the technology because of the absence of standards and proven solutions, as well as a lack of access to fibre for fronthaul. Unless MNOs plan cloud-RAN migration now, they risk missing out on the greatest benefits that 5G can offer in the future.

A phased migration to cloud-RAN will transform the case for 5G and the vendors that support this process will unlock revenue potential. We recommend that:

operators plan multi-phase implementations now

vendors throughout the value chain support open, interoperable platforms to ease and accelerate take-up

radio suppliers form partnerships with IT and cloud companies.

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