DC has a fantasy a few small companies with US connections - Mavenir, Altiostar, JMA - will dominate O-RAN. All have done good engineering work just to make O-RAN work. They made great progress on very small budgets.
But O-RAN is a high priority for some very large companies with major strategic advantages. The problems with O-RAN are extreme and will require major investment to solve. Tareq Amin, CTO of Rakuten in Japan, has the only O-RAN system in serious production. He had to spend "hundreds of millions" designing dedicated chips and still is having performance problems.
Samsung and Nokia are now deeply committed to O-RAN. More O-RAN contracts are going to the big vendors. Samsung is the primary supplier for the Vodafone contract, probably the largest in Europe. NEC is supplying 5G Massive MIMO radio units to Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, and Rakuten. It will provide system integration to the telcos buying the Rakuten systems,
Samsung spends $19 billion per year on research. Nokia spends over $4 billion. Tata, a software giant, spends over $3 billion. Mavenir spent $89 million on R&D in 2020, down from the prior year.
India likely will deploy more O-RAN than the US and Europe combined over the next few years. The Western carriers mostly see O-RAN as reaching volume in 2025-2029. The Indians, deploying 5G mostly as a new network, will go much faster.
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