The Radio Access Network (RAN) market is “still struggling,” according to the latest report from telecom analysts Dell’Oro Group. 

The first quarter of 2024 saw exceptionally weak results, with a decline of 15-30% in the overall global RAN market—the steepest decline since Dell’Oro started covering this market in 2000, according to Stefan Pongratz, Dell’Oro VP and analyst. Dell’Oro measures the sector by both revenue and units sold, but “the focus is on revenue,” Pongratz said.

Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE and Samsung are the top five RAN suppliers, based on worldwide revenues. The vendors’ positions remained stable but “there have been shifts in vendor shares,” Dell’Oro said in an email. “Huawei’s 4QT revenue share improved relative to 2023, while Nokia lost ground over the same period.”

So, we can look forward to dour first-quarter results from our Nordic friends at Nokia and Ericsson, following disappointing fourth-quarter results. 

Ericsson said that it would cut 1,200 Swedish staff in March 2024. This follows planned cuts of 8,500 people worldwide.

The company signed a $14 billion RAN deal with AT&T in December 2023, replacing Nokia gear in the field. Ericsson has said this deal will help bolster its RAN results from the second half of 2024.

Eventually, Ericsson will start supplying open RAN equipment to AT&T as part of this deal. AT&T has said that its open RAN plan is for 70% of its wireless network traffic to move across open-capable platforms by late 2026. 

Struggling Nokia has already reorganized and sold some of its smaller business units, and there have been rumors of a larger sell-off for the company.

RAN revenues declined sharply in the first quarter of 2024 in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, Dell’Oro said in a statement. The Middle East and Africa are growing, Latin America is stable.

Dell’Oro said that growth projections have been revised slightly downward. Global RAN is now projected to decline 5-8% in 2024.

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