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Cellular infra spending to hit $191 bn by 2026


Massive MIMO and 5G densification will account for 73% of the outdoor revenue from mobile network infrastructure.

According to ABI Research, Massive MIMO (mMIMO) is the catalyst that will fuel infrastructure vendors’ revenue in the foreseeable future.

The installed base mMIMO market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63.8% between 2020 to 2026 and reach $58.2 billion (€48 billion) by 2026. 5G densification and mMIMO will account for about 73% of the outdoor revenue reaching $97.3 billion by 2026.

Asia-Pac leading

In the Asia-Pacific region, mobile network operators are expected to deploy 28.3 million units, representing more than 78% of the total mMIMO, market by 2026.

In-building wireless is expected to represent 22% of the total mobile network infrastructure revenue in the world market, reaching $34.4 billion by 2026.

“Protocols such as 5G NR-Unlicensed (5G NR-U), Citizens Broadband Radio Systems (CBRS), licensed shared access (LSA), and locally licensed spectrum will fuel the acceleration of small cell deployments in the enterprise domain,” said Johanna Alvarado, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.

“mMIMO enable mobile network operators to offer the best in class service to end users while leveraging cell site infrastructure and spectrum assets acquired for 5G,” she added.

“The adoption of the different configurations depends on multiple factors such as user density, cell site characteristics, local regulations, and clutter features.

“For example, Chinese operators are deploying mMIMO radios mainly in 64T64R configuration while in South Korea, operators are mainly deploying 32T32R mMIMO due to space and mast weight constraints,” Alvarado explains.

The 64T64R refers to a configuration of 64 transmit and 64 receive antenna elements, that is 128 total antenna elements. 

Open RAN

The market dynamics of Open RAN will be affected by multiple factors, including:
• the geopolitical situation that resulted in the ban of Chinese infrastructure vendors in many countries
• the performance of existing open RAN networks, and
• technological developments will affect the technology’s penetration across the different regions.

“However, it is expected that the revenue of the Open Ran market will grow at a CAGR of 126.7%, representing approximately 17.6% of the total outdoor revenue reaching $23.6 billion by 2026,” Alvarado concludes.