The global market for radio access networks, the gear that handles mobile communications, declined at the fastest pace in almost seven years last quarter, according to a report from Dell’Oro Group, adding bad news to 5G equipment vendors already struggling with sluggish customer demand.
While the markets were expected to weaken, the magnitude of the reversal was “much steeper than anticipated” and heralds a full-year decline in global RAN revenues, said the Redwood City, California-based company, whose reports are widely watched by the industry. The sudden drop was preceded by an intense ramp-up by operators from 2017 to 2021, and somewhat more stable revenues through 2022 and into the first quarter of 2023.
Dell’Oro attributed the poor performance in the quarter to “the clouds forming in North America”, vice president Stefan Pongratz said in the statement on Tuesday. The drop was also amplified by the extra inventory accumulated over the past couple of years to mitigate supply-chain risks, he added.
The data adds pressure on suppliers already struggling with stagnating sales, as high inflation and rising interest rates are increasingly affecting operators’ spending plans. Both Ericsson and Nokia cut guidance in their latest earnings reports, citing a weaker demand outlook.
Ericsson and Samsung Electronics both saw a decline in RAN market share between 2022 and the first half of 2023, while Nokia recorded the largest revenue-share gain over the period, the report said. Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies’ quarterly share reached the highest level in three years. — Rafaela Lindeberg, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP