Our latest research explores open RAN business value looking at the detailed benefits and risks of an Open RAN strategy. 

It’s been less than six months since we published our first report on Open RAN. Yet in that short period, the movement has gained further momentum with new pilot projects, vendor/operator alignments, and multi-CSP MoUs to promote Open RAN principles and diversity in the telecom supply chain. More CSPs and vendors have been keen to stress their Open RAN commitment and credentials.

Yet Open RAN is at a delicate stage – well beyond just another a research project, but not yet fully mainstream. Reasonable topics of concern – performance, security, complexity, maturity – are being used by some CSPs and vendors as reasons to proceed with caution. By others, as justification to accelerate investment and redouble the development of solutions, technologies and yes, standards.

Is Open RAN a market trend that will simply level off? Or is it on an inexorable rise to become the dominant model for RAN architecture – and procurement?

What’s clear is that CSPs should be well informed about the specific benefits that different levels of Open RAN adoption can deliver. Only then can they determine the speed and direction of Open RAN adoption that best suits their context and business goals.

In a new report published today, Appledore unpacks the specific business value that Open RAN makes possible, interface by interface. We look at the different forms of disaggregration (horizontal vs vertical, functional vs architectural) and spell out the benefits and opportunities for operators in each area. Of course, it is not just benefits that are disaggregated – the risk that is normally subsumed into a large contract with an even larger equipment vendor is also exposed. This is one reason why discussion of Open RAN cannot be contained solely within the parameters of a technical solution – it must be understood and pursued as a business solution. Our new report reflects on Open RAN and risk management.

In the last six months, possible applications of Open RAN to private networks have become probable applications. The new research includes a first pass look at the implications of that for CSPs, systems integrators.

In a separate sister report, we summarize the work of the main various standards groups and ecosystems driving the development of Open RAN. From the ETSI and TIP to the O-RAN Alliance, we look at how efforts to standardize aspects of Open RAN are contributing to the overall goals of realizing cheaper, smarter, faster mobile networks.

Open RAN has come far. That it still has a long way to go should not be a surprise. It remains the initiative with the greatest potential to alter the course of the telecom industry.

For more information on our Open RAN Value research including table of contents and a free extract, see here

For more on our Open RAN Leadership report, see here

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