Global SON (Self-Organizing Networks) Markets in the 5G & Open RAN Era, 2022-2030: Review of Over 40 SON Use Cases, Case Studies of 20 Commercial-scale SON Deployments, Profiles of 230+ Players

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Dublin, Jan. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “SON (Self-Organizing Networks) in the 5G & Open RAN Era: 2022-2030: Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts” report from SNS Telecom & IT has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The “SON (Self-Organizing Networks) in the 5G & Open RAN Era” report presents a detailed assessment of the SON market, including the value chain, market drivers, barriers to uptake, enabling technologies, functional areas, use cases, key trends, future roadmap, standardization, case studies, ecosystem player profiles and strategies.

The publisher estimates that global spending on RIC platforms, xApps and rApps will reach $120 Million in 2023 as initial implementations move from field trials to production-grade deployments. With commercial maturity, the submarket is further expected to quintuple to nearly $600 Million by the end of 2025.

Annual investments in the wider SON market – which includes licensing of embedded D-SON features, third party C-SON functions and associated OSS platforms, in-house SON capabilities internally developed by mobile operators, and SON-related professional services across the RAN, mobile core and transport domains are expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 7% during the same period.

The report also provides global and regional market size forecasts for both SON and conventional mobile network optimization from 2022 till 2030, including submarket projections for three network segments, six SON architecture categories, four access technologies and five regional submarkets.

The report comes with an associated Excel datasheet suite covering quantitative data from all numeric forecasts presented in the report.

SON (Self-Organizing Network) technology minimizes the lifecycle cost of running a mobile network by eliminating manual configuration of network elements at the time of deployment right through to dynamic optimization and troubleshooting during operation. Besides improving network performance and customer experience, SON can significantly reduce the cost of mobile operator services, improving the OpEx-to-revenue ratio and deferring avoidable CapEx.

Early adopters of SON have already witnessed a multitude of benefits in the form of accelerated 5G NR and LTE RAN (Radio Access Network) rollout times, simplified network upgrades, fewer dropped calls, improved call setup success rates, higher end user throughput, alleviation of congestion during special events, increased subscriber satisfaction and loyalty, operational efficiencies such as energy and cost savings, and freeing up radio engineers from repetitive manual tasks.

Although SON was originally developed as an operational approach to streamline and automate cellular RAN deployment and optimization, mobile operators and vendors are increasingly focusing on integrating new capabilities such as self-protection against digital security threats and self-learning through AI (Artificial Intelligence) techniques, as well as extending the scope of SON beyond the RAN to include both mobile core and transport network segments – which will be critical to address 5G requirements such as end-to-end network slicing.

In addition, with the cellular industry’s ongoing shift towards open interfaces, virtualization and software-driven networking, the SON ecosystem is progressively transitioning from the traditional D-SON (Distributed SON) and C-SON (Centralized SON) approach to open standards-based components supporting RAN programmability for advanced automation and intelligent control.

The surging popularity of innovative Open RAN and vRAN (Virtualized RAN) architectures has reignited the traditionally niche and proprietary product-driven SON market with a host of open standards-compliant RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller), xApp and rApp offerings, which are capable of supporting both near real-time D-SON and non real-time C-SON capabilities for RAN automation and optimization needs.

Key Findings

  • The surging popularity of innovative Open RAN and vRAN (Virtualized RAN) architectures has reignited the traditionally niche and proprietary product-driven SON market with a host of open standards-compliant RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller), xApp and rApp offerings, which are capable of supporting both near real-time D-SON and non real-time C-SON capabilities for RAN automation and optimization needs.
  • SNS Telecom & IT estimates that global spending on RIC platforms, xApps and rApps will reach $120 Million in 2023 as initial implementations move from field trials to production-grade deployments. With commercial maturity, the submarket is further expected to quintuple to nearly $600 Million by the end of 2025.
  • Annual investments in the wider SON market – which includes licensing of embedded D-SON features, third party C-SON functions and associated OSS platforms, in-house SON capabilities internally developed by mobile operators, and SON-related professional services across the RAN, mobile core and transport domains – are expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 7% during the same period.
  • The third party SON vendor ecosystem is exhibiting signs of consolidation, with several prominent M&A deals such as Qualcomm’s recent acquisition of C-SON specialist Cellwize – in a bid to strengthen its 5G RAN infrastructure offerings, Elisa Automate’s merger with Polystar to form Elisa Polystar, and HCL’s acquisition of Cisco’s SON technology business.
  • However, on the other hand, newer suppliers are also beginning to emerge – extending from VMware, Juniper Networks and other RIC platform providers to x/rApp specialists such as Cohere Technologies, DeepSig, Groundhog Technologies, Subex, B-Yond, Net AI and RIMEDO Labs.
  • SON capabilities are playing a pivotal role in the ongoing proliferation of private 4G/5G networks, as evident from a growing number of cross-sector partnerships. For example, private wireless service provider Betacom is collaborating with Qualcomm to accelerate enterprise adoption of private 5G networks by combining the former’s 5GaaS (5G-as-a-Service) offering with the latter’s enablement ecosystem, including the Cellwize RAN automation and management platform. Similarly, Germany-based systems integrator Opticoms has entered into a partnership with SON specialist Innovile to automate and optimize Open RAN standards-compliant private 5G networks.
  • Over the last two years, with the steep rise of mobile data consumption in residential areas during the COVID-19 pandemic-imposed lockdowns, mobile operators – despite coping relatively well – have recognized the importance of a more dynamic and automated approach to the optimization of network assets in order to provide a consistent and seamless user experience.
  • The 2020-2022 period saw large-scale C-SON deployments by several operators, including but not limited to Verizon, EE (BT Group), Orange, Telefonica, Turkcell, beCloud (Belarusian Cloud Technologies), VEON, Ooredoo, Zain, BTC (Botswana Telecommunications Corporation), LTT (Libya Telecom & Technology), Telstra, Singtel, Telkomsel, Globe Telecom, Smart Communications (PLDT), and Telecom Argentina.

Market Drivers

  • The 5G & Open RAN Era: Continued Infrastructure Investments
  • Optimization in Complex Multi-RAN Environments
  • OpEx & CapEx Reduction: The Cost Savings Potential
  • Improving Subscriber Experience & Churn Reduction
  • Power Savings: Towards Greener Mobile Networks
  • Alleviating Congestion With Traffic Management
  • Enabling Plug & Play Deployment of Small Cells
  • Growing Adoption of Private 4G/5G Networks

Market Barriers

  • Complexity of Implementation
  • Reorganization & Changes to Standard Engineering Procedures
  • Lack of Trust in Automation
  • Proprietary SON Algorithms
  • Coordination Between Distributed & Centralized SON
  • Network Security Concerns: New Interfaces & Lack of Monitoring

Key Trends in Next-Generation SON Implementations

  • Open RAN & vRAN (Virtualized RAN) Architectures
  • Small Cells, HetNets & RAN Densification
  • Shared & Unlicensed Spectrum
  • MEC (Multi-Access Edge Computing)
  • Network Slicing
  • Big Data & Advanced Analytics
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) & ML (Machine Learning)
  • NFV (Network Functions Virtualization)
  • SDN (Software-Defined Networking) & Programmability
  • Cloud Computing
  • Private 4G/5G Networks
  • FWA (Fixed Wireless Access)
  • DPI (Deep Packet Inspection)
  • Digital Security for Self-Protection
  • SON Capabilities for IoT Applications
  • User-Based Profiling & Optimization for Vertical 5G Applications
  • Addressing D2D (Device-to-Device) Communications & New Use Cases

SON Deployment Case Studies

  • AT&T
  • Bell Canada
  • Bharti Airtel
  • BT Group
  • China Mobile
  • Elisa
  • Globe Telecom
  • KDDI Corporation
  • MegaFon
  • NTT DoCoMo
  • Ooredoo
  • Orange
  • Singtel
  • SK Telecom
  • Telecom Argentina
  • Telefonica Group
  • TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile)
  • Turkcell
  • Verizon Communications
  • Vodafone Group

Conclusion & Strategic Recommendations

  • Why is the Market Poised to Grow?
  • 2022 – 2025: Transition From Traditional SON to RIC Platforms, xApps & rApps
  • 2026 – 2029: Commercial Maturity of Advanced AI/ML-Based SON Implementations
  • 2030 & Beyond: Towards Zero-Touch 5G & 6G Network Automation
  • Competitive Industry Landscape: Acquisitions, Alliances & Consolidation
  • The C-SON Versus D-SON Debate
  • Evaluating the Practical Benefits of SON
  • Prospects of Open RAN Standards-Compliant RIC Platforms, xApps & rApps
  • End-to-End SON: From the RAN to the Core & Transport Domains
  • Growing Adoption of SON Capabilities for Wi-Fi & Non-3GPP Access Technologies
  • The Importance of AI & ML-Driven SON Algorithms
  • Improving End User Experience With QoE-Based Optimization
  • Enabling Network Slicing & Advanced 5G Capabilities
  • Greater Focus on Self-Protection
  • Addressing IoT Optimization
  • Managing Shared & Unlicensed Spectrum
  • Easing the Deployment of Private 4G/5G Networks
  • Assessing the Impact of SON on Optimization & Field Engineers
  • Strategic Recommendations

Forecast Segmentation

Market forecasts are provided for each of the following submarkets and their subcategories:

SON & Mobile Network Optimization

  • SON
  • Conventional Mobile Network Planning & Optimization

SON Network Segment Submarkets

  • RAN (Radio Access Network)
  • Mobile Core
  • Transport (Fronthaul, Midhaul & Backhaul)

RAN Segment SON Architecture Submarkets

  • Traditional D-SON & C-SON
    • Embedded D-SON (Distributed SON) Features
    • Third Party C-SON (Centralized SON) & OSS Platforms
  • Open RAN RIC, xApps & rApps
    • RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller) Platforms
    • Near Real-Time xApps
    • Non Real-Time rApps
  • Mobile Operators’ In-House SON Tools & Systems

SON Access Network Technology Submarkets

  • 2G & 3G
  • LTE
  • 5G NR
  • Wi-Fi & Others

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/wus66p

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