‘Rather large’ – 2025 private LTE/5G RAN revenues to top $2bn, rising on China surge
Global revenues from the sale of radio equipment for private LTE and 5G networks will top $2 billion by 2025, with the balance tilting towards 5G by the end of the forecast period, according to telecoms research firm Dell’Oro Group. Revenues from private 5G networks will top $1 billion in the period, it said. No estimates were available on 2020/21 revenues for private cellular networks.
The forecast has been revised upward by more than 10 percent since January, when Dell’Oro Group last sized the sector, reflecting improved momentum for private LTE and 5G on the industrial IoT scene – particularly in China, and particularly by Huawei. “Huawei is engaged in thousands of trials focusing on various 5G private use cases,” the firm said. LTE will continue to dominate in terms of total revenue share from RAN sales until 2025.
In terms of deployments of private LTE and 5G systems so far, the firm reckons on “low single-digit thousands”. Stefan Pongratz, vice president at Dell’Oro Group, reflected: “We will be in the tens of thousands in just five years. [But] I am personally not a fan of this metric – in general, we see that suppliers prefer to use this metric versus sharing revenue [performance] because there is just more room for interpretation.”
Dell’Oro Group has aligned with the 3GPP definition of non-public networks (NPNs), which excludes private Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN (and other) setups in unlicensed spectrum, for example. As such, its projected revenue figures for private networks in the period to 2025 effectively includes radio access network (RAN) equipment for cellular-based LTE and 5G technologies only.
However, the figures also covers private networks where the airtime has been ‘sliced’ from the main public network, and covers revenues raised from the sale of large-sized wide-area macro cells, ‘small’ sized wide-area micro cells, and ‘small’ sized local-area pico cells. They exclude the sale of private LTE/5G core networks, transport infrastructure, and sundry over-the-top services. The report is available here.
The company said sales of ‘macro’ LTE equipment will continue to dominate the “capex mix” in the private cellular market for a few years yet, even as 5G NR share improves through the forecast period. It said private LTE will over-index against private 5G, compared with LTE and 5G shares in general-purpose public networks, through to 2025, largely because of the tardiness of industrial 5G devices and the novelty of private cellular in general.
Pongratz commented: “When it comes to the current state of the market, we are still in the early days of the broader private wireless market, with broad-based adoption for local deployments developing at a slower pace than consensus expectations. The private public safety market for LMR upgrades is more mature. Local [network] private [LTE/5G] revenues are still small relative to the public RAN market, but activity is rising.”
He added: “The hype around private wireless is more warranted this time around, relative to previous enterprise small-cell hype cycles, reflecting progress with the five key components – spectrum, technology, awareness, cloud players, and use cases. Once we factor in all the various private wireless markets, we calculate the overall market opportunity is rather large – in the tens of billions. But we also expect it will take time to realize its full potential.”