EJL Wireless Research Reports Global Macrocell DU/BBU Shipments Hit Record Level In 2023

5G NR DU/BBU massive MIMO share at 24%

Open RAN/vRAN shipments down 43% and still only 1% of overall market

Salem, NH May 8, 2024:  Shipments of distributed units (DU) and baseband units (BBU) for mobile wireless networks across all generations and air interfaces increased 16% in 2023 and surpassed the industry’s previous record level set in 2017, according to the latest report from EJL Wireless Research titled “Global Macrocell Baseband Unit (DU/BBU) Market Analysis and Forecast, 2024-2028 18th Edition.” “We estimate that 2023 was the peak shipment year in the 5G NR cycle which means that the future is down until 5G Advanced kicks in,” 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 globally have already deployed 5G NR NSA networks and are now transitioning to SA networks. Our current view for 2024 DU/BBU shipments is for a sharp decline as mobile operator CAPEX continues to decline and the market in China experiences a pause in demand.

“China accounted for 66% of total DU/BBU shipments in 2023, up from 56% in 2022. The overall market excluding China would have declined by 10% in 2023. With total foreign market share less than 10% in China, the advantages to Huawei Technologies, ZTE, and CICT Mobile remain crystal clear,” says Lum.


“The road to Open RAN was hit with a massive sinkhole in December 2023 as AT&T Wireless chose Ericsson for a single vendor DU/BBU Open RAN compliant network strategy. This posed the extremely important question to the wireless market of which is more important, money or multi-vendor Open RAN,” says Lum.

Information regarding the vendor market share for the macrocell DU/BBU market is contained in a separate report from EJL Wireless Research Global Macrocell Baseband Unit (DU/BBU) Vendor Market Share Analysis, 2022-2023 18th Edition.” that can be downloaded from the company website.


About EJL Wireless Research

EJL Wireless Research provides proprietary, accurate and cutting-edge market analysis and consulting services on the wireless technology ecosystem. The firm’s wireless infrastructure research focuses on vertical elements of the wireless ecosystem including telecommunication standards evolution, global and regional regulatory issues, spectrum availability, mobile operators, and mobile infrastructure equipment vendors.  In addition, the firm provides analysis across horizontal technology suppliers including RF semiconductor materials, RF semiconductor/components, and RF subsystems. Our goal is to provide our clients with critical market analysis and information.

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EJL Wireless Research is managed by Earl Lum. Mr. Lum has over 25 years of experience within the wireless industry including 8 years as an Equity Research Analyst on Wall Street. The company is headquartered in Salem, NH. For more information about EJL Wireless Research, please visit the company’s website at https://ejlwireless.com.■

For more information on our detailed reports, consulting services, and design analysis services, contact Earl J. Lum directly at (650) 430-2221 or elum@ejlwireless.com. We invite you to subscribe to our Email Updates, or meet with us at upcoming wireless conferences and events. Discover why EJL Wireless Research is the preferred choice for wireless market intelligence.



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