The top three 5G radio access network (RAN) vendors will be closely bunched in 2023 when measured by the worldwide percentage of subscribers served, according to a new 5G RAN market share forecast from Strategy Analytics.  Those three firms will collectively control only about 70% of the populace, however.

“By 2023 5G looks to be a very competitive global market as this premium technology finally achieves economies of scale that will drive down the costs per Gigabyte of throughput to make 5G an affordable technology on a global basis,” Strategy Analytics’ Executive Director Phil Kendall said in a press release. “The neck and neck battle between Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia for share of 2023’s 5G radio access should lower costs for all segments of mobile, IoT and fixed 5G applications, even as smaller new vendors find specific niches below these three.”

The firm predicts Huawei will have 24.8% of the market, followed by Ericsson at 22.9% and Nokia at 22.7%. The biggest category, however, will be “others,” with 29.6%.

Other findings from “Comparison and 2023 5G Global Market Potential for leading 5G RAN Vendors – Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia”:

  • The firm estimates that Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia will each serve between 25% and 22% of global 5G subscribers on their RAN equipment.
  • The “others”: Samsung and ZTE as well several new emerging OpenRAN players will share almost 30% of global 5G subscribers.
  • Strategy Analytics anticipates by 2023 5G radio access will become a very competitive market where economies of scale ensure that costs per Gigabyte of throughput continue to fall to make 5G an affordable enterprise and consumer technology on a global basis.
  • 5G would be the first new wireless generation in which China is an early adopter. The huge scale of China’s early market should drive 5G costs down even more rapidly than in previous generations.
  • Both Chinese and non-Chinese vendors who are able to compete effectively in the Chinese market are likely to further improve their market position globally. China’s 5G market is worth monitoring closely.

The “other” category may include a bit of creativity. For instance, earlier this month AT&T said that it is making progress in plans to use white boxes in its 5G wireless core. RANs will be one use case for the devices, which are more formally called software controlled generic hardware devices.

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