LightTrends Newsletter

Covid-19 and the lack of 5G business cases beyond mobile broadband are slowing the migration to 5G SA

July 2021

LightCounting releases its 5G Core Service-based Architecture (5GC SBA) Market Report.

COVID-19 disturbances, lack of 5G business cases, various technical challenges (e.g., standards, cloud native aspects, platform-as-a-service readiness, multi-vendor integration and reliability issues) and overly optimistic 5GC SBA rollout planning were to blame for slow 5GC SBA rollouts in 2020. In fact, while public 5G deployment of 5G SA has been delayed, we have seen over the past 12 months a significant acceleration of private 4G and 5G networks.

“When we conducted this study last year, the findings pointed to at least a dozen communications service providers (CSPs) that would have completed the migration of their 5G non-standalone (NSA) to standalone (SA) mode. But this did not happen! Only 7 CSPs executed their plan, including the 3 Chinese CSPs and T-Mobile US,” said Stéphane Téral, Chief Analyst at LightCounting Market Research.

As a result, China alone accounted for 75% of the total 5GC SBA billion-dollar market in 2020, and propelled Huawei and ZTE to command 80% of global sales despite the strong contract wins reported by Ericsson and Nokia. The most common network functions to start with during a migration to SA are NRF, NEF, NSSF, AMF, SMF, UPF in Session & User Plane and Resource Registry & Security, and UDM/UDR/AUSF in 5G Data Management. PCF in the Policy & Charging domain is implemented in less than half of the deployments.


Source: GSA, LightCounting

Although the slow pace continued in 1H21, technical challenges are being resolved and given the number of contracts reported by Ericsson and Nokia, and the strong deal activity between CSPs and hyperscalers, we expect the total 5GC SBA market to grow 60% over 2020 and continue to grow at a 2020-2026 CAGR of 43%. We foresee a significant ramp up in CSPs’ migration to 5G SA that adds to the pent-up demand created by the delays seen in 2020. Asia Pacific will remain the largest market throughout the forecast period and Session & User Plane and Resource Registry & Security the most important domains to start with, followed by Data Management and then, Policy and Charging.

About the report:

LightCounting’s 5G Core Service-based Architecture (SBA) Market Size & Forecast report provides a comprehensive overview of the market broken down by regions (e.g., North America, Europe Middle East Africa, Asia Pacific, and Caribbean Latin America), and NF domains. It also covers 30 vendors including traditional network equipment vendors, mobile core specialists, data management and policy control players, OSS/BSS vendors and IT system integrators.

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