The global investments in C-RAN architecture networks is estimated to reach over $7 billion by the end of this year. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 20% between 2016 and 2020, according to a new report by market research firm SNS Research.
Although Japan and South Korea continue to spearhead commercial C-RAN investments, interest is also growing in other parts of the world. Mobile operators such as China Mobile, Orange, Verizon and Sprint are already investing in the technology.
To alleviate stringent fronthaul requirements, an increasing number of C-RAN solutions are now utilizing RRHs with baseband capabilities, allowing some intelligence (primarily Layer 1 and Layer 2) to be distributed among RRHs, with Layer 3 functionality residing at centralized BBUs, said SNS Research.
The market research firm said that the ongoing 5G race is expected to significantly boost C-RAN investments over the coming years. The author estimates that over $1 Billion of all C-RAN architecture network investments will be directed towards 5G networks by the end of 2020. At present, most virtualized Cloud RAN investments are limited to trials and demonstrations. However, by the end of 2020, SNS expects that virtualized BBUs will account for over 6% of all C-RAN BBU investments, added SNS Research.