With the 5G network moving to the cloud, the network is now software-based and requires automation to succeed operationally and financially. Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis finds that network automation enables all parts of the 5G network—the radio access network (RAN), the transport network, and the core/edge networks—to operate more efficiently than previously possible. Due to this, the global 5G network automation market is gathering momentum and is expected to reach $5 billion by 2026 from approximately $3.5 billion in 2021.
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“Network automation is an essential part of 5G because it enables efficiency and cost savings for communication service providers (CSPs),” said Troy Morley, Industry Principal, ICT at Frost & Sullivan. “While the entire 5G network will benefit from network automation, the most significant growth opportunity lies within the 5G RAN, where CSPs invest the largest portion of their capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenditures (OPEX).”
Morley added: “With nearly 70% of infrastructure spend, slight improvements in the RAN due to network automation lead to significant payback for CSPs, particularly concerning OPEX. Further, the new architecture of the 5G RAN has opened the market to many new suppliers bringing in specialists in machine learning and artificial intelligence.”
The global 5G network automation market presents opportunities in the space of:
- The 5G RAN: The automation of the RAN offers the possibility of continual improvement in RAN performance and continual reduction of OPEX for each RAN, making it a win-win for the CSP.
- The 5G core/edge networks: Network functions that make up the 5G core and edge networks are beginning to be rolled out globally and will require automation for operational and financial success.
- The 5G transport networks: Transport networks do not often get the same attention that RAN and core networks receive. However, they are essential for 5G to live up to expectations and require automation. This will become vital as network slicing develops.
Global 5G Network Automation Growth Opportunities is the latest addition to Frost & Sullivan’s ICT research and analyses available through the Frost & Sullivan Leadership Council, which helps organizations identify a continuous flow of growth opportunities to succeed in an unpredictable future.