According to a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group, the Mobile Core Network (MCN) market has become erratic, with the lowest growth rate since 4Q 2017. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and China were the weakest performing regions in 3Q 2023.

“It has become quite obvious the MCN market has entered into a very unpredictable phase after breaking the highest growth rate in 2Q 2023 since 1Q 2021 and now hitting the lowest performing growth rate in 3Q 2023 since 4Q 2017. Last quarter, EMEA and China were the strongest performing regions and flipped this quarter, becoming the weakest performing regions,” stated Dave Bolan, research director at Dell’Oro Group. “Many vendors state that the market is volatile, attributing this phenomenon to macroeconomic conditions such as the fear of higher inflation rates, unfavorable currency foreign exchange rates, and the geopolitical climate.

“Besides subscriber growth, the growth engine for the MCN market is the transition to 5G Standalone (5G SA), which employs the 5G Core. But after five years into the 5G era, we are still seeing more 5G Non-Standalone (5G NSA) networks being launched than 5G SA, and the pace of 5G SA networks has slowed from 17 launched in 2022 to only seven so far in 2023. However, we expect more 5G SA networks to be deployed in 2024 than in 2023, and we expect 2024’s market performance to be better than 2023,” continued Bolan.

Additional highlights from the 3Q 2023 "Mobile Core Network & Multi-Access Edge Computing Quarterly Report" include:

  • Two new MNOs launched commercial 5G SA networks in 3Q23: Telefónica O2 in Germany and Etisalat in the UAE
  • Ericsson is the vendor of record for the 5G packet core for all seven 5G SA networks launched in 2023
  • As of 3Q 2023, 45 MNOs have commercially deployed 5G SA eMBB networks.
  • The top MCN vendors worldwide for 3Q 2023 were Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, and ZTE
  • The top 5G MCN vendors worldwide for 3Q 2023 were Huawei, Ericsson, ZTE, and Nokia.