While continued testing and a partial government shutdown pushed back the timeline for early commercial deployments in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band, short-term delays won’t impact long-term demand for LTE and 5G NR CBRS solutions, according to a new forecast from the Dell’Oro Group.
The firm projects that CBRS RAN market will grow rapidly over the next five years, with cumulative investments topping $1 billion by 2023.
“We continue to believe the CBRS band with its unique spectrum sharing characteristics include many of the right ingredients to change the status quo about how networks are built,” said Stefan Pongratz, senior director at Dell’Oro Group, in a blog post about the findings.
According to Dell’Oro Group’s CBRS 5-year Forecast January Report, fixed wireless access (FWA) is projected to drive the largest share of CBRS capex over the near-term.
Small cells will also play a role, with CBRS investments expected to account for more than a fifth of the U.S. small cell market by the other part of the 5-year forecast period.
The CBRS Alliance in February announced a partnership with the Small Cell Forum to drive wide-scale adoption of small cells and OnGo-certified products for the 3.5 GHZ band.
Just last week the CBRS Alliance announced its next technical specification would support 5G deployments and complement 3GPP’s 5G NR air interface. Pongratz pointed to this news in support of the Dell’Oro forecast.
“Recent announcement by the CBRS Alliance to support OnGo over 5G underpins projections that 5G NR deployments in the CBRS band are set to accelerate in the outer part of the forecast period,” Pongratz said.
The report also predicts that CBRS capex won’t have a significant impact on WLAN capex.
Initial commercial deployments using 3.5 GHz over LTE are now expected, at the earliest, during the second quarter of 2019.