5G NR DU/BBU shipments capture 31% share due to deployments in China
Open RAN/vRAN shipments up 77% but still only 3% of overall market
Salem, NH August 21, 2023: Shipments of distributed units (DU) and baseband units (BBU) for mobile wireless networks across all generations and air interfaces grew 3.5% in 2022 from 2021 levels, according to the latest report from EJL Wireless Research titled “Global Macrocell Baseband Unit (DU/BBU) Market Analysis and Forecast, 2023-2027 17th Edition.” “While 2020 marked a bottom due to COVID-19 from peak shipment levels in 2017, 2022 shipments nearly reached 2019 levels due to demand from 5G NR network deployments in China,” says founder and President, Earl Lum. EJL Wireless Research is forecasting near to mid-term weakness for the market as the majority of mobile operators/countries have already deployed 5G NR NSA networks and are now transitioning to SA networks. Our current view for 2023 DU/BBU shipments is for a decline of 16% as 5G NR shipments overtake legacy LTE/UMTS/GSM shipments.
“China accounted for 59% of total DU/BBU shipments in 2022, up from 41% in 2021. The overall market excluding China would have declined by 22% in 2022. With total foreign market share less than 10% in China, the advantages to Huawei Technologies, ZTE, and to a lesser extent, Datang/CICT are very clear,” says Lum.
“The Open RAN story continues to evolve, albeit slowly, with the observation spotlight now shining on the realities of vendor interoperability and performance/efficiencies when compared to traditional purpose built hardware and software. We believe that 2025 may be when the wireless market has an epiphany about Open RAN as marginal equipment vendors drop out and a few large players are left standing in the ecosystem,” says Lum.
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