LightTrends Newsletter

When the SON sets, the RIC rises, and the RAN gets SDN'ized

October 2020

LightCounting releases its RAN Automation Report: When the SON sets, the RIC rises, and the RAN gets SDN’ized
In 3Q20, LightCounting took a look at the evolution of mobile network automation from 3GPP’s Self-Organizing Network (SON) to the radio access network (RAN) intelligent controller named RIC, which with the recent involvement of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) sets the stage for RAN SDN’ization. Our major findings in the report are:
  • If all 800+ LTE commercial networks had a centralized SON (C-SON), global C-SON sales would roughly be in the range of the OSS market. But that is not the case and as a result, C-SON software and services sales are just above the $1B bar and growing at a low single digit CAGR
  • From the dozens of C-SON vendors who entered the market as it took off a decade ago, less than 10 are left, market share is led by Nokia
  • C-SON’s never-ending dependance on OSS data failed to deliver the zero-touch network concept envisioned at the beginning of this century
  • The Telecom Infra Project (2016), the O-RAN Alliance (2018) and more recently the ONF are about to change the game and morph SON modules and use cases into apps that will feed RIC’s xApps store
  • Still killer apps are to be desired, but we found a potential one; this is a particularly important aspect because SDN failed due to a lack of SDN apps
  • Driven by AT&T, Nokia and VMware, a RIC ecosystem is emerging and shaking up the C-SON vendor landscape, the traditional RAN, the open RAN and the open vRAN ecosystem, the cloud providers, and more…
  • Providing this SDN 2.0 chapter ends well and a significant portion of RAN gets SDN’ized, LightCounting expects that more than a third of C-SON sales will be in the form of apps by 2025
About the report:
Defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) at the beginning of this century, SON  algorithms configure and optimize mobile networks automatically without human interaction. As networks handle vast amounts of traffic and become more and more sophisticated and complex through the addition of several generations, SON algorithms are blended with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence algorithms. LightCounting’s RAN Automation Report: When the SON sets, the RIC rises, and the RAN gets SDN’ized tracks the centralized SON (C-SON) software and services revenue market, provides size, forecast and vendor market shares, and analyzes the evolution of C-SON modules and use cases becoming apps in the RIC needed in open RAN, open virtual RAN, and software defined RAN (SD-RAN) architectures.
Companies covered in this report include: AirHop Communications, Altiostar, Altran, AT&T, Cellwize, Cohere Technologies, Continual, Ericsson, HCL Technologies, Huawei, Innovile, Intel, Mavenir, Microsoft Azure, Nokia, P.I Works., Parallel Wireless, and VMware.

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