Published Jan 29, 2018

Charlottesville, VA: The worldwide market for C-RAN-based mobile communications infrastructure will reach $17.5 Billion by 2023, according to a new report from Communications Industry Researchers (CIR), a networking industry analyst firm based here. The new CIR report, “C-RAN Deployment: Market Opportunity Analysis – 2018 and Beyond”, says that the C-RAN market is being driven both by the need to reduce OPEX and to ready mobile networks for the onslaught of 5G services starting in 2020.

The huge capital expenditure on C-RANs will bring new business opportunities not only to the optical transmission firms, but also to specialist software and chip firms. Nonetheless, C-RAN still has many obstacles to overcome and as a result CIR believes the transition will not occur as fast as some other analysts have predicted.

About the report:

This report includes an examination of what functionality the mobile service providers are looking for from distributed RANs along with a detailed analysis of the product and marketing strategies of the firms actively pursuing the C-RAN market. More than 30 firms active in this space are profiled in the report including 6WIND, Airvana, Altiostar, Altera, Amarisoft, Anritsu, Aquantia, Argela, Artiza, Artesyn, ASOCS, BLiNQ Networks, Cavium, Ceragon, Clearfield, CommAgility, Comcores, CommScope, eASIC, EBlink, Embedded Technology, Ericsson, EXFO, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, InterDigital, Infinera, Intracom Telecom, JMA Wireless, Keysight, Mavenir, NEC, Nokia, Phluido, Mavenir, Samsung and ZTE

Also included in this report are ten-year market forecasts for C-RAN revenues and deployments and a thorough discussion of product trends – such as the move to smaller C-RANs – as represented by the announcements from leading vendors. This forecast is broken out by RRH, BBU, fronthaul and software. There is also a separate forecast of specialist chips used in C-RAN architectures

This report is designed to guide business development executives, product managers, investors and others to where the C-RAN opportunities can be found. It was brought to you by the same team that created our best-selling report: “Optical Networking Opportunities in 5G Wireless Networks: 2017-2026.” As such the forecasts and analysis in the report is based on a realistic understanding of major carriers’ plans for C-RAN and the speed at which they are likely to be achieved.


From the report:

C-RAN was originally created by the China Mobile Research Institute and leading Korean carriers were also early adopters of C-RAN architecture. Carriers in the APAC market are expected to continue to dominate the C-RAN market over the coming decade. Asian carriers will account for 75 percent of C-RAN revenues in 2018. And By 2023, China and the APAC countries are expected to generate $9.8 Billion in C-RAN revenues.

Much of C-RAN expenditure will go to towards BBUs, revenues from which will reach $7.1 billion by 2023. C-RAN is necessary to support the numerous BBUs required for a small-cell 5G environment. Moves and changes of BBUs in a C-RAN environment are also easier because in C-RAN BBUs are virtual machines and not physical ones. But BBU infrastructure will have to be rebuilt in the context of C-RAN and this will involve considerable investment.

C-RAN deployment also requires an extensive rebuild of the fronthaul network, where latency and data rate requirements require much more fiber– fiber also has the advantage over wireless technologies in that, once installed, ongoing costs are lower. Verizon, which is currently deploying C-RAN, has openly stated that its fronthaul and backhaul network infrastructure will be fiber based.
Mobile operators with cost-efficient fiber fronthaul are more likely to be earlier adopters of C-RAN, whereas those mobile operators that have so far only used wireless fronthaul, will be late adopters. Overall C-RAN revenues related to new front-haul facilities will reach $3.1 Billion by 2023.

About CIR:

Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) has published hype-free industry analysis for the optical networking industry for more than 25 years. Our reports on mobile infrastructure contain the most authoritative market forecast and technology assessment available.

Visit for a full listing of CIR’s reports and other services.


Robert Nolan
Tel: 804-938-0030