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The Future of Network-Led Growth: Predictions and Trends for 2023 & Beyond

Published On
June 2, 2023
Read Time
Jay Magdani

As we look to 2023 and beyond, network trends are predicted to shape the future of businesses across all industries. 

Startups can dramatically boost their fundraising efforts and facilitate network-led growth by using the aggregate power of an accelerator program's network to succeed in the competitive startup ecosystem.

As Klemens Hjartar, Senior Partner at Mckinsey, Copenhagen, says, By 2025, companies are looking to transition around 60% of their IT estate to the cloud, and already 50% of businesses report incorporating AI into at least one operational function."

Therefore, adaptability to these trends will boost operational efficiency, lower costs, improve customer experience, and drive business growth.

This article will detail the three top network-led growth trends and their potential impact on businesses in 2023 and beyond.

Future of Network-Led Growth:  Major Predictions and Trends for 2023

Let us explore some major predictions experts have made for network-led growth: 

1.  Rapid growth of disaggregated networks

Disaggregated networks have long been touted in the business. In 2023, it's anticipated that they'll rank among the most significant trends in networking. They offer many advantages, such as adaptability, lower prices, and less vendor lock-in.

In recent years, there has been a gradual evolution towards cloud-native principles in network domains, resulting in disaggregated network functions' adoption.

The global network-led growth virtualisation market is anticipated to increase from $12.9 billion in 2021 to $36.3 billion by 2026, at a compound yearly growth rate (CAGR) of 23.1%, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets.

Source: 2019 MarketsandMarket Research  

The popularity of cloud-based services is growing, and there is a demand for technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV).

2. Popularisation of Open RAN and overlay networking 

Open RAN is one of the specific applications of disaggregated networks that is gaining traction in network-led growth.

The Open RAN market is anticipated to grow at a 70% CAGR to $10 billion by 2026, according to a Dell'Oro Group analysis.

By breaking down the hardware and software components of the RAN, Open RAN provides an alternative to conventional RAN topologies while increasing flexibility and lowering costs.

Another application of disaggregated networks is overlay networking with SD-WAN or SR-VPN. 

According to a report by IDC, the global SD-WAN infrastructure market is anticipated to reach $5.25 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 30.8%.

This expansion results from more people using cloud-based applications and the demand for dependable and safe connectivity.

2.   Leveraging Agile Multi-Cloud Strategy for Network-Led Growth

As cloud adoption continues to surge, a multi-cloud strategy is emerging as a critical trend for organisations seeking to optimise their cloud infrastructure. 

The key benefits of a multi-cloud strategy:

  • Allows organisations to leverage multiple cloud providers for computing resources, reducing the risk of downtime and data loss.

  • expands the business reach, tapping into new business horizons while managing cloud costs. Thirdly, it mitigates the risk of vendor lock-in and ensures that risks are managed across multiple providers.

Some drawbacks of adopting a multi-cloud strategy for network-led growth:

  • Hiring and retaining employees with the expertise to understand cloud service providers' infrastructures and specifications.

  • Managing app security for data and access permission and exposure strategy requires specialised knowledge.

  • Operational management and administrative responsibilities become more complex as cloud providers use different tools.

Despite these challenges, the adoption of a multi-cloud strategy is accelerating. According to a survey by Flexera, 94% of organisations are using multiple cloud providers, up from 84% in 2019. 

The same study also revealed that 87% of respondents plan to adopt a multi-cloud strategy for network-led growth, up from 81% in 2019.

Source: Flexera.

While challenges remain, organisations can benefit significantly from adopting a multi-cloud strategy if implemented effectively for network-led growth.

3.   Driving Network-Led Growth With Mobile Services Network Slicing


Network slicing is a promising technology that allows mobile service infrastructure to be divided into logical divisions called Network Slice Subnet Instances (NSSI) for each operational domain, creating a tailored, high-performance, low-latency network slice fostering network-led growth

Network Slicing as a Service (NSaaS) will be necessary for businesses in 2023 due to 5G and Network Slicing's B2B and B2B2X orientation.

What is Network Slicing as a Service (NSaaS)? 

NSaaS uses several features to make Network Slicing a reality. 

It includes end-to-end service orchestration for cross-domain resource allocation and Network Slice instantiation, a data analytics function fueled by AI/ML for cross-domain monitoring and observability of network and service exposure capabilities. 

NSaaS also combines several API standards and 5G NEF capability, and fully integrated OSS/BSS functions to flexibly establish and adjust chargeable events and align the service billing.

Growth prospects of network-slicing market

A report by MarketsandMarkets predicts that the worldwide network-slicing market will help drive network-led growth from roughly $161 million in 2020 to $1,284 million by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51.5% during the forecast period.

The increasing demand for high-speed and extensive network coverage with reduced latency and the growing need for new connectivity services drive the market need.

Additionally, network slicing is expected to significantly impact several industries, including manufacturing, FMCG, healthcare, transportation, and energy, by enabling them to utilise 5G's capabilities for their specific use cases.

Source:  Mckinsey.com

The growth of the global network-slicing market further reinforces this network-led growth trend, indicating that this technology is set to become an essential part of the telecommunications industry's future.

Final Thoughts

The early-age start-ups and small businesses are on the cusp of transformational change with network-led growth for 2023 and beyond. To stay competitive and succeed, companies must embrace these trends to improve their digital transformation and control costs. 

Some creative businesspeople have already started testing and implementing these use cases. By the end of the decade, improvements in technology and affordability could spur wider adoption with an increased GDP between $420 billion and $700 billion

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