5G Magazine – Open RAN Edition

Get an in-depth view of the current state of global Open RAN deployments - How to successfully deploy Open RAN? Where and who has deployed or trialing Open RAN? Who are the ecosystem partners? What are the benefits? What are the challenges? Who are the top ecosystem vendors for vRAN, Radio Units, RAN chipsets, SIs. Featured articles/interviews from Amdocs, VIAVI Solutions, Small Cell Forum (SCF), and Jio.

Featured articles in this edition

Spotlight Your Innovation in 5G Magazine

The Private Network Revolution

Open RAN initiatives have come a long way. Since the inception of the xRAN Forum in 2016, and its subsequent merger with the C-RAN alliance two years later to form the O-RAN alliance, the industry and ecosystem have made significant progress in defining open RAN architecture and deploying initial use cases.

Starting with the adoption of the O-RAN alliance’s open fronthaul specifications (a.k.a. 7-2x split), the industry subsequently evolved its focus to making open Centralized Unit (CU), open Distributed Unit (DU), and RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) a reality.

Today, many operators – both new and incumbent – based on their understanding that adopting a fully O-RAN compliant architecture would enable them to deploy new and innovative use cases cost-effectively, are in the process of rolling out open RAN technology and products.

The Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), adopting the O-RAN alliance’s specifications, has also been driving open RAN initiatives with a focus on enabling testing and real-world open RAN deployments by bringing operators, vendors, and systems integrators together.

 


 

The 3 stages of Open RAN deployment

  Stage 1: [Where the industry is Now] – Opening the interface between the radio unit (RU) and distributed unit (DU). This interface is referred to as the fronthaul interface (7-2x split) in the O-RAN parlance. Supporting an open fronthaul interface requires RU and DU vendors to support this functionality. Stage 2: – Opening the interface between DU and central unit (CU) following the 3GPP higher layer split. This interface is referred to as open F1 in the O-RAN parlance. DU and CU vendors must support open versions of this interface to achieve multivendor interoperability. This phase also includes transitioning from proprietary hardware to GPP / COTS hardware platforms for DU, CU. Stage 3: – Disaggregating the CU further, into a control plane and user plane components. This change is augmented by the introduction of the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) to host real-time, analytics, SON, & RRM applications, while the CU and the RIC are deployed in edge clouds. Underpinning the Open RAN deployment evolution is the development of open management interfaces for all open RAN components. Here, open, standardized operations and management models are necessary to truly realize the operational benefits of Open RAN. With the potential to deploy extreme automation, this enables operators to drive unprecedented scalability and efficiency into their future Open RAN operations.  


 

State of current open RAN deployments and trials

While some pioneer greenfield operators such as Rakuten in Japan and DISH network in the USA are fully embracing Open RAN, brownfield operators too are now beginning to trial and deploy the standard. The recent developments in North America (US FCC’s open RAN NOI, US Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act), Europe (MoU among major operator groups), Latin America, and Asia highlight the growing interest in testing and deploying Open RAN.

Some brownfield operators are finding Open RAN solutions – especially multi-technology deployments – to be a compelling proposition for deploying RAN at an affordable cost. Yet, at the same time, for operators and vendors alike, there is an understanding that there is more work to be done in the areas of developing, testing, deploying, and commercializing fully O-RAN standards-compliant solutions.

Open RAN is also garnering interest for private networking needs. Private enterprises are seeking virtualized, cloud-native, future-proof solutions for their private networking needs. Open RAN architecture offers them a compelling option, allowing them to start with 4G and subsequently upgrade to 5G software without swapping any hardware. Specifically, the deployment of cloud-native RAN components on edge stacks (e.g., MSFT Azure, AWS, GCP) combined with core network software and IT applications make this deployment scenario an attractive proposition.

 


 

Key imperatives for operators

To accelerate the adoption of Open RAN and realize the benefits, operators must first develop a full understanding of the following:

  • Interoperability and performance of a multi-vendor Open RAN
  • The total cost of ownership of Open RAN
  • The tradeoff between the benefits of disaggregation and systems integration costs
  • Level of automation, including the use of ML and AI technologies, to drive performance and efficiency
  • Range of use cases and applications, notably at the network edge, that benefit from disaggregated Open RAN
  • How Open RAN can co-exist with traditional RAN

To gain these understandings, operators must undertake the following initiatives:

  • Test and integrate various disaggregated sub-systems (RU, CU, DU, RIC, xApps, SMO, rApps)
  • Evolve to multi-vendor, end-to-end system testing to create a completely deployable Open RAN solution
  • Deploy and test architecture and open interfaces in the areas of cloud management, network orchestration, software management, zero-touch provisioning, CI/CD, FCAPS, and assurance
  • Deploy and test architectures and interfaces to ML/AI to enhance analytics and closed-loop optimization to drive higher network performance and efficiency
  • Conduct field trials incorporating all open ecosystem software components (e.g. ONF SD-RAN, O-RAN OSC, ONAP) with open RU, open CU, and open DU subsystems
  • Develop benchmarks, a playbook, and business cases for various deployment use cases and scenarios

 


 

Leveraging the open network ecosystem

Amdocs Open Ecosystem Accelerator for Open RAN provides access to open ecosystem partners, as well as open-source-based solutions and services to help operators test, deploy and launch open RAN networks. Amdocs’ capabilities span all phases of the Open RAN lifecycle, including pre-deployment – testing & integration, deployment – orchestration & management, and Operations – intelligence & automation.

Open RAN end-to-end lab services – Services include managing the program, developing end-to-end network design (IP RAN, IP CORE), preparing the bill of material, liaising with equipment vendors, procuring all equipment, as well as integrating and installing the RAN, core, and transport elements. It also includes infrastructure automation, which enables the provision of lab infrastructure as a service for on-premise, hybrid, and cloud environments. Open RAN testing, automation, and integration services – Services include creating test object lists, assembling test plans, executing test plans, performance validation, benchmarking, reporting results, deploying automation for testing, providing lab infrastructure as a service, and reporting to augment CI/CD pipelines as per O-RAN alliance testing specifications and methodologies. Pre-integrated open RAN solution – Services include reselling partner products, deploying and supporting pre-integrated and tested open RAN solutions. Furthermore, Amdocs works with various Open RAN systems providers to ensure the integrated solution meets the operators’ requirements and is ready to be tested and deployed in the field. Open source-based RAN orchestration, management, and automation – This solution utilizes open source software (e.g. ONAP components) to support multi-vendor Open RAN to orchestrate, configure, deploy (support CI/CD), as well as manage PNFs, VNFs, and CNFs in a multi-cloud environment. Capabilities include service designer, O-cloud management, support FCAPs, non-RT RIC, and rApps. Supported use cases include network slicing and assurance. Open source-based RAN intelligence and automation – This solution utilizes open source software (e.g. ONF SD-RAN, O-RAN OSC) to develop and deploy AI/ML-driven analytics and optimization applications. Use cases include near real-time geo-analytics, coverage capacity optimization, massive MIMO/beamforming optimization, QoE optimization, and traffic steering.  


 

O-RAN Interview with Karpura Suryadevara

 

Which industry organizations are playing a prominent role in developing Open RAN?

The main organizations driving the evolution of Open RAN include O-RAN Alliance, O-RAN OSC (Linux Foundation), ONF (SD-RAN project), and Telecom Infra Project (TIP). O-RAN Alliance focuses on use cases, open RAN architecture, open interfaces, and specifications including testing and integration, while O-RAN OSC and the ONF SD-RAN project provide a software base for some of the components such as RIC. Meanwhile, TIP plays a crucial role in aligning the use cases, deployment requirements, vendors and operators so that first, tests can be conducted in labs and field networks, and subsequently, for the acceleration of commercial deployments.

How is Amdocs involved with O-RAN Alliance?

We’ve been collaborating with the O-RAN Alliance since 2018. Our focus areas include testing & integration, service management & orchestration (including Non-RT RIC, rApps), and near RT RIC applications (xApps). Our contributions include white papers and defining use cases such as massive MIMO & network slice management. We have voting rights in WG1 (Use Cases and Overall Architecture workgroup) and WG2 (Non-real-time RIC and A1 Interface workgroup) and we’re contributors to the 2021 Minimum Viable Plan committee’s (MVP-C) activities.

What about your involvement with Telecom Infra Project (TIP)?

We’ve been collaborating with TIP groups since 2016 with activities spanning Open RAN, Open Core, and Open Transport groups. Within Open RAN specifically, we’re members of the RIA (RAN Intelligence & Automation) and ROMA (RAN Orchestration, Management & Automation) subgroups. Within the RIA subgroup, we collaborate with operators and technology partners to deploy machine learning (ML)-driven use cases on ONF SD-RAN’s near-RT RIC platform. Amdocs has also been selected as part of the preferred vendor list for the first round of use case trials. Within the recently-formed ROMA sub-group, we look forward to contributing to various automation use cases, enabling more holistic and unified Open RAN management.

What benefits have you seen from your collaboration within the O-RAN Alliance & TIP?

In TIP, RIA and ROMA initiatives have been key to driving future RAN automation use cases towards PoCs, trials, and deployments. The RIA subgroup’s operator and TIP technical leads have been particularly successful in defining use cases and aligning vendor capabilities with operator interests in order to build early PoCs. Thanks to this collaboration, we’ve been able to take new ML-based analytics and optimization use cases and develop plans to conduct early proofs of concept, as well as actual deployments. In the O-RAN Alliance, the overall architecture and new interface definitions, including the OAM work for O-RAN, are providing us with a foundation to develop open, multi-vendor automation, while the specifications are also contributing to our own work in developing multi-vendor analytics and automation for RAN.

Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) is being adopted by operators and equipment manufacturers worldwide to reduce infrastructure deployment costs and lower the barrier to entry for new product innovation. This article provides an overview of this technology, industry initiatives to standardize and validate it, and the ecosystem developing around it.

O-RAN Overview

The expectations of 5G will place enormous demands on the network infrastructure to deliver massive volumes of data over swathes of the spectrum to multitudes of users at challenging latencies. To meet this challenge necessitates the possibility for the different logical functions of the network to be flexibly placed at different physical locations and for them to be coordinated by a new RAN Intelligent Controller function.

Traditionally, as shown in Figure 1 (see 5G Magazine), RAN components such as radio and the digital baseband have been built on proprietary hardware, and these components typically use vendor-specific protocols for communications. Software functions and interfaces between the different RAN components are designed for optimal performance for that proprietary hardware. For example, Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) is commonly used for LTE fronthaul (the link between radio unit and baseband unit). However, vendor-specific implementation often restricts multi-vendor operability.

For the introduction of RAN functions disaggregation and open interfaces in 5G, 3GPP has in Release 15 specified a Higher Layer Split (HLS) option of the gNB, which is also known as the Option 2 NR-PDCP split option. In this option, the gNB may consist of a Central Unit (gNB-CU) and one or more gNB Distributed Unit (gNB-DU) connected through the F1 interface. 3GPP has delivered a set of specifications for the F1 interface, however realizing multivendor interoperability over the F1 interface can be very challenging as these specifications have been defined with options that can be used in different manners depending on vendors’ implementations.

3GPP started a study on Lower Layer Split (LLS) in Release 15, during which multiple lower layer split options were identified. But it has proven difficult for the 3GPP community to converge on specifying a single split option in 3GPP, and that study item has been completed with no further actions planned. Many vendor-specific implementations of lower-layer splits exist today. Even though they have been optimized to take advantage of the benefits of the lower-layer split, such as improved radio performance due to coordination gains, these closed systems do not support multi-vendor interoperability.

O-RAN is delivering well-defined specifications to the industry to enable deployments of O-RAN-based programmable networks consisting of fully-disaggregated modular O-RAN network functions. These are designed to be multi-vendor interoperable over open interfaces running on cloud-based virtual systems. This empowers operators to design and deploy a mixed-vendor network along with network slices which are key to delivering mixes of use cases in the same O-RAN infrastructure.

A key challenge for the more complex and flexible 5G network that results from this is the scale and flexibility of deployment, optimization, management, and orchestration of the network. Delivering new services and managing RAN capacity will no longer be practical if managed manually. Intelligence and automation must be integrated into all aspects of the network lifecycle to reduce CAPEX and OPEX.

As RAN disaggregation facilitates managing the complexity required to address the 5G challenge, intelligence in every layer of the RAN architecture is at the core of open RAN technology. This will allow operators to deploy a truly self-managed, zero-touch automated network. Consider the example where baseband capacity can become a bottleneck during an unplanned network event. Artificial intelligence and machine learning agents can detect and characterize this event in a short amount of time, leading to automated optimization, such as small cell infill capacity. Such an innovative solution can be deployed quickly and efficiently on a white-box platform.

 


 

O-RAN Alliance Charter

To achieve the mentioned goals of an open radio access network, operators founded the O-RAN ALLIANCE to clearly define requirements and help build a supply chain eco-system that can foster an environment for existing and new vendors to drive innovation.

O-RAN ALLIANCE members and contributors have committed to evolving radio access networks around the world. Future RANs will be built on a foundation of virtualized network elements, white-box hardware, and standardized interfaces that fully embrace O-RAN’s core principles of intelligence and openness.

  1. Lead the industry towards open, interoperable interfaces, RAN virtualization, and big data enabled RAN intelligence.
  2. Specify APIs and interfaces, driving standards to adopt them as appropriate.
  3. Maximize the use of common off-the-shelf hardware and merchant silicon, thus minimizing proprietary hardware.

Although there are several operator-led industry initiatives that aim to generically create an open RAN ecosystem, the O-RAN ALLIANCE has received the greatest amount of support. In this document, we use “O-RAN” to refer to the open RAN ecosystem target of the O-RAN ALLIANCE.

The O-RAN ALLIANCE management structure consists of a board made of operators and a Technical Steering Committee (TSC). Nine technical workgroups have been set up under the supervision of the TSC with specific focus areas, as listed below.

  • WG1 – Use Cases and Overall Architecture
  • WG2 – The Non-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller and A1 Interface
  • WG3 – The Near-real-time RIC and E2 Interface Workgroup
  • WG4 – The Open Fronthaul Interfaces
  • WG5 – The Open F1/W1/E1/X2/Xn Interface
  • WG6 – The Cloudification and Orchestration
  • WG7 – The White-box Hardware
  • WG8 – Stack Reference Design
  • WG9 – Open X-haul Transport

 


 

Key Test Areas for Vendors and Operators

The success of O-RAN will depend on the capability of operators to integrate and meet network KPIs in a true multivendor environment. To achieve this goal, operators need to have the confidence that all components in an O-RAN network have been tested in a trusted and controlled environment and all open interfaces and components are working correctly such that a multi-vendor O-RAN network cost to performance ratio is better than that of a traditional a single-vendor network.

Operators will only deploy a network with an O-RU from one vendor, fronthaul from another, and baseband from a third one only if the performance and cost meet their targets and network integration is robust. VIAVI plays an active role in contributing to the development of O-RAN specifications and how O-RAN compliant products can be tested to ensure interoperability, commercial robustness, and high performance. In fact, VIAVI is the only T&M vendor holding co-chair positions in multiple O-RAN groups (Test Integration Focus Group and WG9) and editorships of several interoperability specifications (WG4 and WG5).

In addition, VIAVI is a key contributor to O-RAN ALLIANCE plugfests, events conducted to foster the adoption of open and interoperable 5G and 4G Radio Access Networks. In September and October 2020, VIAVI successfully participated in the global plugfest across five countries, providing industry-leading 4G and 5G test and validation platforms. 

The O-RAN architecture references multiple standards bodies to deliver a robust open RAN ecosystem. VIAVI participates in those bodies and their workgroups including ITU-T, 3GPP, ONAP, IEEE (specifications for network transport, timing, and sync workgroup) to name a few. VIAVI thus facilitates the delivery of test solutions so operators can be confident that their networks, once tested with VIAVI, are compliant with multiple required standards and specifications.

VIAVI has identified various use cases which can help identify, isolate and resolve network performance issues before an O-RAN multi-vendor network is launched.

The following are some key areas of our focus in lab validation, field deployment, and network assurance.

  • Multi-vendor interoperability test (MV-IoT) for functionality, performance, reliability, robustness, and resilience
  • Subsystem (wrap-around) test of O-RU, O-DU, and O-CU
  • System-level test
  • Vendors-pairing evaluation
  • Protocol compliance for open interfaces and protocols
  • Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery test automation
  • Continuous test process throughout the entire lifecycle
  • Holistic evaluation of multiple RAN deployment options
  • (RAN disaggregation, spectrum bands, delay management, features, vendors, etc.)
  • Performance monitoring of open interfaces and protocols to ensure optimum operation

Figure 3 (in 5G Magazine) shows the scope of system and subsystem testing methodology using O-CU and O-DU. The companion white paper Test Suite for O-RAN Specifications sets out several test challenges and associated use cases, resources, and recommendations for how to overcome these challenges.

The presented test cases are a subset of the potential use cases rather than an exhaustive list of every required test case and are intended to provide an insight into test requirements and act as a starting point for more detailed discussion. Emphasis is given to multivendor testing aspects.

There are many options for deploying multi-vendor networks and the choices made will drive test priorities. One potential scenario is that the operator sources the O-DU and O-CU from one vendor and uses them with O-RUs from different vendors.

In this scenario, separating the testing of the single-vendor O-DU and O-CU will enable the single vendor part of the network to be tested and optimized separately from any variability introduced by different O-RUs. Once that is complete, end-to-end testing involving the complete O-RU, O-DU, O-CU chain should be performed as well. 

In another scenario, attention is focused on the interworking between the O-DU and the O-CU. In the same way, testing upwards from the F1 interface into the O-CU for the single-vendor part can be separated from the variability introduced by the different O-RU and O-DU suppliers. Irrespective of decisions about the mix of different vendors and network architectures, certain critical performance aspects will remain.

Included among these are:

  • End-to-end network performance including during handover and with mobility and fading test scenarios
  • Robustness of the X-haul transport and synchronization networks.
  • Multi-vendor interoperability testing

To help operators manage to test, VIAVI has worked closely with the O-RAN ALLIANCE in the development of interoperability and conformance test scenarios. Along those lines, different operators are launching O-RAN Test and Integration Centers (OTIC) around the globe. The core charter for OTIC is to ensure O-RAN components from multiple vendors support standard and open interfaces and can interoperate in accordance with O-RAN test specifications. 

Some of the key goals are to:

  • Verify, integrate and test disaggregated RAN components.
  • Ensure O-RAN solutions functionally comply with the specifications of the O-RAN ALLIANCE.
  • Deliver the desired architecture that supports a plug-and-play model for O-RAN network components and solutions

 

Software-Defined Car-Ecosystem with Small Cell Cloud

Software-Defined Cars are the future of the automotive industry, and a complete ecosystem is a perfect example of how Hyperscalers, MNO, Private and Automotive infra vendors, Smart City County Networks will coordinate and complement each other. This ecosystem will be a perfect multitenant platform to serve Enhanced Autopilot- OTA, Safety, Infotainment Cognitive Analytics, and security needs of SDC.

SCF is interested to contribute to this use case along with the industry partners, where a balanced & distributed 5G NR, Core, Edge infra, and CV2X RSU can share the coordinated common platform with Smart City and Hyperscaler networks.

In this way, the CAPEX has uniformly distributed to all stakeholders and the Automotive platform is fully programable and dynamically configurable as per the requirements. Major modules like EEA, ECU, Mobile applications, Infotainment, Safety, and Security modules are going through a major transformation.

Software-Defined Car-Ecosystem with Small Cell Cloud  


 

CV2X: The Airwave (Spectrum) Over

Automotive is one of the most prominent use cases for 5G auto-drive connectivity, governments across the globe need to have a global spectrum strategy. In the United States, FCC is in the process to reassign 30 MHz of spectrum @5.9 GHz to CV2X. 30 MHz Spectrum is fully dedicated to CV2X (Intelligent Transportation System-ITS) sidelink units in the car to communicate to the Roadside Units- RSU (Radio units- connected to the county or smart city transport infra network. In 2020 Virginia VDOT started the initial deployment of CV2X infra (5.895 ~5.925 GHz).

In addition to the United States, globally, 15 to 20 countries are working on spectrum strategy for the automotive industry.

“Global CV2X market value will be over US$1 Billion in 2026” Source: Global Market Insights

All Major Carriers have an existing Automotive Service based on LTE and transitioning to 5G NR (CV2X) services. Car Infotainment is another area that needs to be combined with the Roadside Units. SCF is working towards the Blueprint of the Combined unit (Small Cell & Roadside Unit). 5G NR nFAPI and Management can play a big role here.

Major ITS Use Cases include:

  • Road Works Warning
  • Speed Limit Warning
  • Red Light Violation
  • Intersection Movement Assist
  • Tele Operations
  • Automated Vehicles

 


 

SCN Service Slice: CV2X (Opportunities)

 

What is your perspective on Open RAN?

Open RAN is the 5G infrastructure framework that enables the operator to address one of the challenges related to vendor lockin. Beyond vendor-lockin and open architecture-based adoption, we need to understand and consider many aspects such as:

  • What are the advantages?
  • What are the challenges?
  • What is architecture?
  • What is the reference design?
  • Minimum viable product specifications
  • Complete user plane, control plane, and management plane fabric
  • Supply chain superiority, beyond additional interfaces
  • The complete partnership integration framework
  • Complete test framework
  • Complete certification or badging framework or badging

In short, there are many things engaged in totality when considering an Open RAN-based solution.

If we consider the major organizations or regulatory bodies who started working on it, 3GPP made sure that in terms of building the technology, products, and frameworks, all the specs are in place in their releases 15, 16, 17 18 onwards. But once we start thinking about open RAN, i.e., open source-based architecture, we can see the supply chain superiority in terms where each segment has enough capability to meet requirements.

  • ROI requirements
  • CAPEX requirements
  • Interoperability requirements

Several organizations are working towards the Open RAN architecture, including O-RAN Alliance, SCF, TIP, ONAP, Linux Foundation, and more. But, when we dissect and scan the whole offering to date, many things are still missing, e.g.,

  • Virtualization piece or edge piece like a hardware plugin is missing
  • Opening up the pieces of infrastructure management
  • Opening up pieces of service management
  • Specifications to manage the service launching as a whole where you are managing the servers and managing the auto connectivity infrastructure beneath it

In short, there are a lot of overall gaps.

The niche initiatives that are working on one or more of the above gaps need to come under frameworks like O-RAN or SCF to give consumers (whether they are mobile network operators, private network operators, or neutral hosts), a set of libraries in terms of infrastructure as a service platform or software as a service to pick and choose the interfaces that are good enough to integrate & interoperate. 

Additionally, they should also consider providing a customized test framework based on all the components they chose. There also needs to be a badging authority, whether it is TIP or SCF, or O-RAN. The industry bodies are collaborating and can coexist to bring real blueprints, in addition to the frameworks available today, so that consumers can pick and choose. And I’m hopeful that coordinating all these value-adding initiatives like O-RAN & SCF and others can bring a complete framework.

SCF has started working on the blueprints, frameworks, and cloud assets for small cells. I’m hopeful that open RAN becomes a big success in 2023, which may be the time where you can scale at a big level.

 


 

Which Open RAN interfaces SCF is working on?

In terms of 4G where whether it is a small cell or macro cell, the maximum it did was starting from a split 0. Split 0 means like you have the entire stack. That means you have your analog front end antennas, analog front end, digital front end, then your RRH, which is a part of the digital front end, and then the baseband and backhaul. This was a complete set for baseband radio, and everything was packed on one, which was used with split 0.

But now when the transition has started going more virtualized RAN or distributed RAN – from split 0, we have come to split 2, which is nothing but PDCP split to the RLC split. And then split 2 was deployed up to some extent with small cells and then a couple of micro and pico arrangements. But I see that the world has done a lot when we have gone even further down.

And when we go down, I think a split six is what SCF brings to the plate for open RAN initiatives. And that is related to your MAC PHY kind of split. And we have seen many benefits of doing that split. And that’s the reason why, if you see the history, several years back, SCF was the one who came up with the FAPI compliances. And FAPI compliance, when you integrate your PHY to MAC, and if the stack vendors comply with it, you can choose any chipset that is complying with the FAPI PHY. You can integrate whether the PHY is coming from Radisys or PHY is coming from Altran or any other MAC vendor if they’re complying with it, so you don’t need a convergence layer.

And it was solving many issues related to performance and efficiency. So, the same things are carried forward.

So, we started marching from 4G, we have come to 5G, and at present, I can say that this is becoming a reality where multiple of the industry initiatives are adopting a split six. And similarly, like O-RAN has taken a split 7.x, and they’re doing a great job defining the interfaces, defining the minimum viable products, all specifications management framework, you can say control framework SMO related stuff.

So, they deal with a much broader spectrum. As I explained in my earlier answer, we need to bring a framework and a blueprint to pick and choose kind of concepts or plug and play concepts becomes a reality one day. So, in that way, I can say that it’s split 7.2 very much active with micro kind of domains of 5G infrastructure and also adopted to private infrastructure.

Similarly, I see split 6 very close to Enterprise Solutions use cases. I can see that they are more favorable to private network deployments, where they are more in terms of – mid-haul, integrating products, and DU and RU integrations. I can see that they have many advantages to bring it for Enterprise Services.

And similarly, if you have split 7.x interface also, ultimately you have to hit split 6, which is your FAPI because MAC and PHY integration you need to do and most of the time that goes with a FAPI compliance of 5G. I think this is how I’m seeing major two interfaces split 7.x and a split 6. These are the two, and there is a lot of great work O-RAN is doing. Similarly, SCF is also kind of taking its stake and ensuring that the promotion of split 6 for distributed RAN is going along with your 7.x.

Similarly, many upper layer integrations are also happening at a CU level where your split 2 is still valid. So we see a mixed flavor because one solution doesn’t fit all in the industry. So definitely based on the use case and based on the business case you’re looking into mix and match. I also see a possibility where a split 6 DU can coexist with the split 7 DU and go to a common CU. So those kinds of possibilities also tell you that the industry is ready to cooperate and bring the supply chain superiority of Open RAN to a reality. I think that is important because unless everyone cooperates and brings favorable, cost-effective frameworks, this will not be a reality. Then I feel that nobody can deny that these facts are acceptable and people work together cohesively.

 


 

Which use cases SCF is focussing on?

SCF is working with a split 6, and as we discussed earlier, SCF’s goal is not only defining the split 6 interface. SCF split 6 is covering below three different segments.

  • Defining standard FAPI for 5G. There are two versions already released, and version three will be released in the coming few weeks.
  • Defining RF FAPI, where a lot of beamforming and other related aspects will be covered with the reference design and blueprints. So that is another piece where we are doing good. And we are expecting that in a few weeks, the first version of that specification will also go forward.
  • The third, last but not least, and very important is your network FAPI. Network FAPI we released 5G and FAPI specification 1.0 last quarter, and this quarter, probably in a few weeks, we are very positive to release the second version of nFAPI, which is release 15 & 16 compliant.

So, in that way, I’m feeling very happy about putting the specification in place, and multiple companies are collaborating. There was a public summit last week where Qualcomm was a great contributor, Picocom, and numerous other companies such as Radisys and Jio cooperated to bring nFAPI, whereas FAPI side Intel greatly contributed.

I also see all three things we need to put into a test framework. Multiple companies are also working on a testing framework such as Keysight. These things are in a public domain where everybody presented and updated how SCF is taking care of building this whole, open split frameworks for the customization, product ideation, and deployment for the network.

So that’s all about what SCF is doing. And definitely, we are bringing another umbrella workgroup where multiple of these initiatives will be considered and worked upon under a single framework where cloud assets components and small cell ecosystems your Wi-Fi and you can say 5G convergence.

Many industry automation use cases and IoT use cases will be under a single umbrella. We can all focus and take it forward regarding frameworks, packaging, blueprints, and deployment level.

In the last couple of months, we are also focusing on taking at least two or three major use cases where all we’re doing is packaging under a single blueprint or a framework. And some of those are automotive, private networks, and ports.

 

45 – Ongoing Open RAN deployments and trials

27 – Countries deploying/trialing Open RAN

31 – Operators deploying/trialing Open RAN across one or more countries

 


The current state of Open RAN in Japan


 

Rakuten

Rakuten Mobile has launched 4G and 5G commercial services based on open RAN architecture in Japan, leveraging multiple vendors’ radios. The key vendors in Rakuten deployments include Altiostar, Cisco, Nokia, Intel, IBM Red Hat, OKI, Fujitsu, Ciena, NEC/Netcracker, Qualcomm, Mavenir, Quanta Cloud Technology, Sercomm, Tech Mahindra, Allot, Innoeye, Viavi, Robin.io, Radcom, and Airspan.

Rakuten has signed separate MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) with NEC and Fujitsu to develop open RAN solutions for the global market. Fujitsu will develop new O-RAN-based 4G and 5G radio units that Rakuten Mobile will integrate into its Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) offering. As per the MoU, NEC will expand its existing domestic collaboration with Rakuten to provide 5G and 4G Radios and engineering services for Open RAN systems aligned with O-RAN specifications.

Rakuten is in discussion with more than 15 operators to develop a blueprint of Open RAN deployments based on RCP.

  • Telefonica signed an agreement with Rakuten Mobile in Sep 2020 for research and lab trials supporting OpenRAN architecture and jointly developing proposals for optimal 5G RAN architecture and OpenRAN models.
  • Etisalat Group and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) already signed MoU with Rakuten in Jan 2021 and Dec 2020, respectively, to develop a reference blueprint for mobile broadband networks and open RAN technology based on RCP.
  • Ligado signed MoU with Rakuten Mobile to use RCP for the commercial trial of private 5G networks in Feb 2021. They will collaborate with enterprise customers on the advanced use cases and the technology stack for launching a mobile private 5G network offering.

 

 
NTT Docomo

NTT Docomo commercially deployed Open RAN-based 5G sites in Tokyo in Sept 2020 based on open interfaces (fronthaul and X2 interfaces) specified by O-RAN. The key vendors of this ecosystem include NEC, Samsung, Fujitsu, and Nokia.

They have been leading the O-RAN Alliance since early 2018, developing specifications and promoting solutions that enable operators to combine disaggregated base station equipment.  NTT Docomo also has an agreement with 12 vendors – Dell Technologies Japan, Fujitsu Limited, Intel, Mavenir, NEC Corporation, NTT DATA Corporation, NVIDIA, Qualcomm Technologies, Red Hat, VMware, Wind River, and Xilinx, to cooperate for building 5G Open RAN Ecosystem and accelerating the deployment of open radio access networks globally, to serve the diverse needs of the operators.

Docomo’s target is to package best-of-breed RAN and introduce, operate, and manage them based on demands from operators considering the open RAN introduction.


 

KDDI 

KDDI plans to deploy O-RAN compatible 5G radio units from Fujitsu for constructing virtualized base stations for 5G commercial services in Japan. The 5G radio units will use O-RAN specifications for the fronthaul interface for communicating with base station controllers. KDDI plans to provide end-to-end network slicing services with the 5G network.

 


The current state of Open RAN in India


 

JIO

Reliance Jio is building its own 5G network based on Open RAN technology. Jio has already tested in-house-built 5G radios integrated with 5G core earlier this year. It plans to leverage the companies that have India-based manufacturing. Some of the companies that could potentially be part of the Jio 5G ecosystem include SignalChip, Saankhya Labs, Tejas Networks, Sterlite Technologies, and VVDN Technologies.

Radisys (acquired by Jio) and Qualcomm are already part of this ecosystem. Qualcomm’s venture arm plans to invest $97.1 million in Jio’s platform, about a 0.15% equity stake. In Oct 2020, Jio already achieved a milestone of 1Gbps, leveraging Qualcomm’s 5G RAN platforms.


 

Airtel

Bharti Airtel initiated partnered in early Nov 2021, with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, Accenture, Tata Consultancy (TCS) to test enterprise use cases using low-latency high-speed 5G Networks. They are working with Apollo Hospitals, Flipkart, and other manufacturing companies to demonstrate 5G solutions. The solutions will be deployed in the 5G test spectrum allotted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and will include use cases for Smart Factory, Smart Healthcare, Digital Twin, AR/VR based use cases, Connected Work-force, and more. The use cases will be conducted both at end-user locations and Bharti Airtel’s advanced 5G lab in Gurgaon.

Bharti Airtel has also deployed open RAN across multiple cities in India from Altiostar for 4G services. The software is 5G-ready, and as per Altiostar, it could seamlessly transition to 5G using the same network architecture. Airtel is a part of both the O-RAN Alliance and Telecom Infra Project (TIP), contributing actively to the standardization efforts. In Nov 2020, Airtel hosted the first plugfest event in the India region for O-RAN Alliance. Jointly with Alitostar and NEC demonstrated O-RAN option 7.2x split integrating virtualized O-DU from Altiostar.

Earlier in 2021, Airtel partnered with Qualcomm to deliver 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to deliver broadband connectivity for residential and business customers. It will utilize Qualcomm’s Open RAN platform via its network of vendors and device partners.

In addition to Qualcomm and Alitostar, Airtel has also partnered with Intel, Mavenir, and Tata Group.


 

Vodafone Idea

Vodafone Idea, in India, has deployed Open RAN solution from Mavenir at multiple sites for supporting 4G services, since Dec 2019. They are committed to Open RAN and plan to extend the deployment of TDD and Massive MIMO sites across multiple cities in India. They have partnered with many Open RAN ecosystem vendors to develop solutions for India’s traffic requirements and build a 4G+ network by advancing the deployment of 5G technologies.   


The current state of Open RAN in Thailand


 

National Telecom Public Company Limited (NT)

National Telecom Public Company Limited (NT) deployed an Open RAN-based private 5G network in Ban Chang, the westernmost district of Rayong Province in eastern Thailand, in partnership with Mavenir, Cisco, and 5GCT (local partner delivering end-to-end 5G smart cities solution).

Mavenir provided the cloud-native, open architecture-based private network solution comprising of 5G Open RAN, Millimeter wave (mmWave) radios, and 5G Core with Open API technology standards to enable state-run telco TOT (which merged NT along with CAT Telecom) to launch 5G. Cisco provided switching hardware and application services to enable the ‘smart’ components of the 5G solution.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Indonesia


 

Indosat Ooredoo

Indosat Ooredoo, a cellular operator in Indonesia conducted OpenRAN field trials, including proof of concept and functional testing in April 2021. The field trials were carried out in several locations in the Maluku region as part of Indosat Ooredoo’s efforts to improve and expand its video grade 4G network for providing better internet services to its customers. The trials were supported by TIP OpenRAN Project Group and Parallel Wireless.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Malaysia


 

Edotco

Edotco, leading regional integrated telecommunications infrastructure services partnered with TIP to deploy & test OpenRAN 4G sites at selected high traffic areas in Malaysia. Edotco will validate TIP OpenRAN in a Network as a Service environment, providing wholesale service to mobile service providers, starting with Celcom Axiata and extending to others over time.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Oceania


 

Optus

Optus, Australia’s second-largest mobile operator deployed an Open RAN solution from Parallel Wireless for providing 4G-based mobile connectivity for its customers in remote and underserved areas. Optus rolled out 5G in Australia in Nov 2019 and currently has network equipment from both Ericsson and Nokia.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Europe


  Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Telecom Italia signed a memorandum of understanding to support the rollout of Open RAN networks across Europe. They will work with ecosystem vendors, and industry bodies such as the O-RAN Alliance, TIP, and European policymakers to ensure Open RAN technology becomes competitive with the traditional RAN solutions.”

Link -> OPEN RAN TECHNICAL PRIORITIES EXECUTIVE SUMMARY UNDER THE OPEN RAN MOU by Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, TIM, and Vodafone


 

Telefonica

Telefonica is planning to deploy Open RAN technology in the below three phases:

  • Initial Phase (2020-2021): Pilots & Trials
  • Phase 1 (2021-2022): Initial deployments
  • Phase 2 (2022 and onwards): Massive deployments in Spain, Brazil, Germany, and the UK

The objective is to deploy Open RAN in 50% of the network between 2022-2025. Telefonica also signed an agreement with Rakuten Mobile in Sep 2020 for research and lab trials supporting OpenRAN architecture, jointly developing proposals for optimal 5G RAN architecture and OpenRAN models.

In Brazil, Telefonica’s brand Vivo already conducted Open RAN technology-based trials for 4G and 5G with Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, Altiostar, Supermicro, Intel, Gigatera Communications, and Xilinx.

In Argentina, Telefonica’s brand Movistar conducts Open RAN proof-of-concept with Altiostar, RedHat, Quanta, Gigatera, Kontron, and IBM.

Telefonica’s Deutschland went live with the Open RAN network at three sites in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, and plans to deploy Open RAN at 1000 sites in Germany by the end of 2022. The ecosystem vendor for Open RAN deployment includes Altiostar, Gigatera Communications, Dell, Intel, Red Hat, Supermicro, Xilinx, and NEC.

In Jan 2020 Telefonica O2 initiated a range of Open RAN (O-RAN) projects to provide better network service to its customers in the rural areas and dense urban hubs, with the expectation of commercial deployment in the next 18-24 months. O2 partnered with non-traditional RAN vendors – Mavenir, DenseAir, and WaveMobile for the O-RAN projects.

  • In partnership with Mavenir, O2 enhanced coverage and capacity in high-density environments in London. They provide enhanced mobile connectivity and a better customer experience in areas such as stadiums to shopping centers.
  • In partnership with DenseAir, O2 is deploying O-RAN-based 4G and 5G networks at Millbrook. O2 works with Millbrook Proving Ground, a neutral host provider for public and private 5G connectivity, for testing and developing CAV technology.
  • O2 has deployed O-RAN-based coverage solutions developed with WaveMobile, across several sites in the UK, including Woldingham, Surrey, which carry mobile traffic for O2 customers

In Jan 2021, leveraging the work done in the last 12 months, O2 conducted a successful Open RAN trial with NEC, Altiostar, GigaTera, Supermicro, and other ecosystem partners.

  • NEC developed customized Open RAN architecture, conducted end-to-end testing and interoperability verification in its UK center of excellence running via O2’s core network
  • Alitostar provided the virtualized RAN software
  • GigaTera and Supermicro provided the hardware for the trial

Link -> Telefónica views on the design, architecture, and technology of 4G/5G Open RAN networks

  •  

 

Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom plans to deploy in 2021, Open RAN technology-based 4G and 5G services at 25 sites in Neubrandenburg, a city north of Berlin, in Germany. The key vendors part of this Open RAN validation process include Mavenir, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia, Dell, and others. Based on the results of the small deployment, DT may plan for wider deployment of Open RAN technology in 2023-24.


 

Orange

Orange plans to deploy solely Open RAN compliant network equipment starting 2025 and conduct virtual and automated network trials by the end of this year. They believe that Open RAN will provide opportunities to the new vendors but not at the expense of Nokia and Ericsson.


 

Telecom Italia

Telecom Italia is deploying Open RAN technology for 4G services in Faenza, Italy. The Open RAN deployment initiative is part of the signed MoU between Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Telecom Italia to deploy Open RAN technology across Europe. The key vendors enabling the Open RAN-based 4G deployment for TIM include JMA wireless and Microelectronics Technology (MTI). TIM will extend the Open RAN solution to support 5G services in the future.


 

Vodafone

Ireland: Vodafone plans to launch Open RAN-based 4G services at 30 locations in Ireland, in partnership with Parallel Wireless. It was initially trialed in North Kildare and then rolled out across the North West region.  Additionally, Vodafone will also leverage system integrators to improve product automation covering zero-touch provisioning, testing, and operational process definition for Open RAN. In this process, it will further extend the developing ecosystem to include RAN automation vendors.

UK: Vodafone has launched the first commercial OpenRAN 4G site in a rural area at the Royal Welsh Showground in Powys, Wales, the UK, with Mavenir, Dell, Kontron, and Lime Microsystems. In Nov 2020, Vodafone announced that it would be deploying OpenRAN technology at 2,600 mobile sites across Wales and the South West of England. Italy, Romania, and Spain: Vodafone also conducted field/lab trials with Open RAN technology for 4G services with Parallel Wireless and Lime Microsystems, in Italy, Romania, and Spain. Vodafone Ziggo (Netherlands): Vodafone Ziggo is conducting a trial of Open RAN technology with NEC Europe and Altiostar. They tested the first voice call over the Open RAN network in Oct 2020. They plan to integrate solutions from other technology and radio vendors using commercial off-the-shelf hardware from third parties to transform the VodafoneZiggo network into a software-based network. Globally across countries:

Vodafone also announced in Nov 2020 that it would open multiple OpenRAN Research & Development labs across Europe. This is another commitment to the Open RAN ecosystem as a part of Vodafone’s European innovation strategy. In April 2021, Vodafone opened its first Open RAN test and integration lab at Newbury, UK, tech campus. The lab is currently in the early stages of development, and it will have 30 Vodafone engineers to integrate and test Open RAN technology from multiple vendors. 

Vodafone partnered with Qualcomm to develop the reference designs and technical blueprint for more equipment suppliers to help build the 5G networks of the future using Open RAN technology, enabling further diversification of network equipment vendors.

The Open RAN reference design will combine Vodafone’s engineering expertise at building high capacity, large-scale networks with Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership in developing high performance and low power Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) solutions for device and infrastructure products. The combined solution will ensure Open RAN is ready for use in 5G networks and capable of supporting applications with high bandwidth requirements such as virtual and augmented reality devices, even in urban areas.

 


The current state of Open RAN in North America


 

AT&T (United States)

AT&T has commercially deployed an Open RAN-based 5G network at a few sites in Dallas in Aug 2020 with Ericsson and Samsung. AT&T has also conducted several O-RAN trials to demonstrate a mmWave 5G gNB and open front haul leveraging developments with CommScope and Intel. They are expected to incorporate O-RAN-compliant network equipment in their network from 2022 and maintain the same level of high performance.

AT&T believes that the industry will gradually introduce Open RAN into existing networks, and some deployments may continue to use existing traditional network infrastructure.

 

Dish Network (United States)

The dish network is building the cloud-native, Open RAN technology-based 5G broadband network that would comply with its O-RAN specifications. They tested a fully virtualized standalone 5G core using the industry’s first O-RAN compliant FDD radio by MTI, along with Nokia and Mavenir in Wyoming in Dec 2020.  The key vendors part of the Dish 5G network ecosystem includes Altiostar, Mavenir, Fujitsu, Intel, Qualcomm, Nokia, VMware, Ciena Blue Planet, Matrixx, Hansen Technologies, DigitalRoute, and MTI. DISH will use AWS Outposts and AWS Local Zones to build its 5G Open RAN network in the cloud.

The dish is a strong proponent of Open RAN.

 

Inland Cellular (United States)

Inland Cellular deployed TIP OpenRAN based solution for commercially launching 4G services and laid the foundation for future OpenRAN based 5G services. ExteNet Systems, Parallel Wireless, Dell EMC, and Intel are the key vendors in their 4G Open RAN deployment. Inland Cellular opted for Open RAN for price and features. It helps them drop each cell cost by about 40%.

 

OptimERA Cellular (United States)

OptimERA, a telecommunication provider in Alaska, is working on Open RAN-based LTE services with Parallel wireless to provide broadband services to consumers and businesses.  

Verizon Cellular (United States)

Verizon believes that operators should decide for themselves depending on the circumstances whether Open RAN or traditional proprietary network is the right choice. They have mentioned to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of the agency’s inquiry into open RAN that much work needs to be done from a standards perspective. There are adoption challenges, specifically for existing networks (compared to greenfield deployment). Verizon plans to use Open RAN equipment to construct a 5G network in its mmWave and C-band spectrum once its existing vendors – Ericsson, Samsung, and Nokia start supplying open RAN compliant equipment later this year. Early this year, Verizon deployed 5G vRAN leveraging Samsung, Intel, HPE, and Wind River.

 

T-Mobile Cellular (United States)

T-Mobile currently does not have any plans to deploy Open RAN technology.  


The current state of Open RAN in South America


 

Internet Para Todos (IPT) (Peru)

Internet Para Todos (IPT), a wholesale operator in Peru owned by Telefonica, Facebook, and Latin American banks IDB Invest and CAF Bank, launched commercial 4G mobile broadband based on TIP OpenRAN architecture based in May 2019. IpT will offer wholesale connectivity access on the revenue share model to mobile operators for delivering communication services to rural communities. Parallel Wireless and Altiostar are the key OpenRAN vendors in this deployment.

 

Millicom Tigo (Columbia)

Millicom plans to deploy 4G services in rural parts of Columbia via O-RAN compliant technology via Parallel Wireless. The first phase of deployment will begin early 2022, followed by new rollouts over a 4-year period. Parallel Wireless will also be a key system integrator, bringing together ecosystem partners for hardware, software, RIC, orchestration, and applications.

 

Telefonica (Brazil)

Telefonica Vivo conducted Open RAN technology-based trials for 4G and 5G in Brazil, with Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, Altiostar, Gigatera Communications, Supermicro, Intel, and Xilinx. They are also validating AWS outposts as infrastructure options. This is part of Telefonica’s wider strategy to conduct O-RAN trials across its core markets of Germany, Spain, the UK, and Brazil.

 

Movistar (Argentina)

Movistar, the Telefonica brand, is conducting Open RAN proof-of-concept in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Altiostar, RedHat, Quanta, Gigatera, and Kontron are key vendors in this Open RAN proof-of-concept. IBM is the system integrator responsible for end-to-end deployment & integration of components from the mentioned vendors for this Open RAN trial.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Middle-East


 

Etisalat (UAE)

Etisalat, the UAE-based operator, was the first to launch an Open virtual Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) in Jan 2020. It gradually plans to expand the rollout of Open vRAN across the UAE. The key vendors in the Open vRAN deployment included Parallel Wireless, Altiostar, Cisco, and NEC. It is using commercial off-the-shelf hardware as an alternative to traditional proprietary network equipment.

Global Open RAN: Etisalat operates in 16 markets across Middle-east, Asia, and Africa. They recently signed an agreement with Parallel wireless to deploy O-RAN compliant network in Afghanistan in partnership with Intel and Supermicro, replacing existing legacy applications. Intel will provide a 3rd generation Xeon processer, which would run on Supermicro servers.

MoU with Rakuten: Etisalat has been exploring the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) for some time.They signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rakuten Mobile to develop a reference blueprint for mobile broadband networks and Open RAN technology based on the RCP.  

STC (Saudi Arabia)

STC tested O-RAN sessions in Saudi Arabia in partnership with STC Solutions and Altiostar in Dec 2020. The Open RAN testing aligns with STC’s DARE strategy for a bright digital future.

MoU with Rakuten: STC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rakuten Mobile to collaborate on various technologies, including OpenRAN deployment options for greenfield and brownfield use cases. The goal is to accelerate the delivery of mobile network services via OpenRAN technology.  


The current state of Open RAN in Africa (4G/5G)


MTN (Zamia, Mozambique, Uganda and Guinea Conakry, South Africa)

MTN has deployed over 200 commercial rural sites across its geographical footprint, using OpenRAN technology. They are projecting to deploy more than 5000 sites in rural areas across 21 operations, bringing 2G,3G, and 4G connectivity. Zambia: MTN technology group conducted the first trials of OpenRAN in 2018 and deployed commercial sites in 2019 in Zambia with Parallel Wireless. Mozambique: MTN conducted OpenRAN based trials for 4G in Mozambique. Key vendors included Parallel Wireless, Mavenir, CrowdCell, and Lime Microsystems. Uganda and Guinea Conakry: MTN has ongoing OpenRAN based operations for 4G commercial services in Uganda and Guinea Conakry, with VANU, Parallel Wireless, and NuRAN wireless. South Africa: MTN conducted 4G trials based on OpenRAN in South Africa with Parallel Wireless. As one of the key members of the TIP, MTN carries out solution testing on all hardware and software elements at its state-of-the-art head office in Johannesburg, South Africa.  

Vodafone (Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique)

  Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Vodacom has conducted trials with TIP OpenRAN in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with Parallel Wireless. Mozambique: Vodafone (Vodacom) conducted OpenRAN based trials for 4G in Mozambique. Key vendors included Parallel Wireless, Mavenir, CrowdCell, and Lime Microsystems.

The Top 28 Open RAN Vendors, as identified from publicly disclosed ongoing and planned deployments and trials up to May 2021, are listed below. This comprehensive overview categorizes the leading companies spearheading the Open RAN movement, reflecting their significant contributions and innovations in the field. These vendors are at the forefront of transforming the telecom landscape through their Open RAN solutions, marking a pivotal shift in the industry as of May 2021.

Parallel Wireless

Parallel Wireless is emerging as a key player in the Open RAN market with its innovative approach to Radio Access Network (RAN) technology. Focusing on simplifying and unifying cellular connectivity, their Open RAN solutions are designed to support multi-technology, multi-vendor, and multi-band networks. This flexibility allows for easy and cost-effective network expansion and upgrades, making them an attractive option for operators looking to modernize their networks. Parallel Wireless has gained recognition for its software-based RAN solution, which emphasizes scalability and interoperability, aligning with the growing industry trend towards more open and flexible network infrastructures. Their growing market presence is further strengthened by strategic partnerships with major telecom operators and technology providers, positioning them as a significant contributor to the evolving landscape of Open RAN deployments.

Mavenir

Mavenir stands out in the Open RAN ecosystem for its comprehensive suite of software-centric network solutions. As a pioneer in the Open RAN movement, Mavenir offers solutions that enhance network flexibility and innovation, enabling operators to adapt to rapidly changing market demands. Their Open RAN offerings, which include both virtualized RAN (vRAN) and containerized RAN solutions, are designed to support a variety of deployment scenarios, thereby catering to a diverse range of operator needs. Mavenir’s focus on open interfaces and cloud-native network functions demonstrates their commitment to driving the evolution towards more agile and cost-effective mobile networks. Their influence in the market is evident through collaborations with numerous service providers and technology partners worldwide, solidifying their role as a prominent force in the global expansion of Open RAN technology.

Altiostar

Altiostar is making significant strides in the Open RAN sector with its innovative, software-driven solutions. Known for its virtualized RAN (vRAN) technology, Altiostar provides a flexible, scalable platform that enables mobile network operators to expand and upgrade their networks more efficiently. Their approach to Open RAN emphasizes interoperability and performance, facilitating the transition to more open, multi-vendor network environments. Altiostar’s notable collaborations with industry leaders and involvement in various global Open RAN projects underscore their commitment to advancing this technology and shaping the future of mobile networks.

NEC

NEC is a key contributor to the Open RAN movement, leveraging its expertise in network and communication technologies. The company offers a comprehensive range of Open RAN solutions, including hardware and software elements that support various deployment scenarios. NEC’s focus on innovation and quality in Open RAN is evident through its partnerships with telecom operators and technology vendors worldwide. Their solutions are designed to enhance network flexibility, scalability, and efficiency, aligning with the global push towards more open and interoperable wireless networks.

Intel

Intel is a pivotal force in the Open RAN ecosystem, primarily through its powerful and versatile chipsets and processors. Their technology forms the backbone of many Open RAN solutions, providing the necessary computing power and efficiency for virtualized and disaggregated network functions. Intel’s contributions extend beyond hardware, as they actively collaborate with industry partners to develop and promote standards and architectures that facilitate the growth of Open RAN. These efforts position Intel not just as a supplier but as a key enabler in the global Open RAN landscape.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu has emerged as a prominent player in the Open RAN market, offering a range of solutions that emphasize reliability, efficiency, and interoperability. Their Open RAN offerings are designed to meet the needs of diverse network operators, supporting a variety of deployment scenarios. Fujitsu’s commitment to innovation in Open RAN is evidenced by their active participation in industry consortia and partnerships with other tech giants. Through these collaborations, Fujitsu aims to drive the development and adoption of Open RAN technologies globally.

Qualcomm

Qualcomm, primarily known for its semiconductor products, is making significant contributions to the Open RAN landscape through its advanced chipsets and technologies. Their solutions are vital in enabling more efficient, high-performing Open RAN networks. Qualcomm’s focus extends to fostering a robust ecosystem for Open RAN, evidenced by their collaborations with various industry players. By leveraging their expertise in wireless technology, Qualcomm is helping pave the way for more flexible and scalable mobile networks.

Gigatera

Gigatera, although a lesser-known player in the Open RAN market, is making impactful strides with its specialized solutions. Their offerings focus on enhancing the performance and efficiency of Open RAN deployments, particularly in terms of radio frequency and network optimization. Gigatera’s role in the Open RAN ecosystem is marked by their commitment to delivering innovative, high-quality products that align with the evolving needs of mobile network operators.

Dell

Dell is contributing to the Open RAN ecosystem through its robust computing and infrastructure solutions. Their hardware and software offerings are integral in supporting the deployment and operation of Open RAN networks. Dell’s approach to Open RAN emphasizes scalability, reliability, and efficiency, meeting the growing demand for more flexible and cost-effective network infrastructures. Through strategic partnerships and a focus on innovation, Dell is helping to enable the widespread adoption of Open RAN technologies.

Lime Microsystems

Lime Microsystems specializes in field-programmable RF (radio frequency) transceivers for Open RAN and other wireless applications. Their technology is pivotal in enabling flexible and customizable radio solutions that are essential for Open RAN deployments. Lime Microsystems’ commitment to open-source and software-defined radio technologies demonstrates their dedication to advancing the Open RAN concept, allowing for more versatile and adaptable network configurations.

Rakuten

Rakuten is not just a technology company but also an operator that has fully embraced Open RAN in its mobile network. As one of the first to deploy a fully virtualized cloud-native network, Rakuten is at the forefront of Open RAN innovation. Their experience as an operator provides them with unique insights into the practical aspects of deploying and managing Open RAN networks, influencing their approach to solution development and collaboration within the industry.

SuperMicro

SuperMicro is making its mark in the Open RAN space by providing high-performance server solutions that are crucial for the infrastructure underlying Open RAN networks. Their focus on energy-efficient, high-density server technology aligns well with the requirements of modern, scalable Open RAN deployments. SuperMicro’s commitment to innovation and quality in server technology supports the growth and sustainability of Open RAN networks globally.

Xilinx

Xilinx plays a critical role in the Open RAN ecosystem through its advanced FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) and adaptive computing solutions. These technologies are essential for the flexibility and efficiency required in Open RAN networks. Xilinx’s contributions are not limited to hardware; they actively engage in partnerships and industry collaborations to promote the development and standardization of Open RAN technologies.

IBM RedHat

IBM RedHat is a key enabler in the Open RAN ecosystem, primarily through its enterprise-grade Linux operating system and cloud solutions. Their open-source software platforms provide the necessary foundation for many Open RAN deployments, ensuring scalability, security, and interoperability. IBM RedHat’s commitment to open standards and collaborative development is instrumental in advancing the Open RAN movement and supporting the evolution of more flexible network infrastructures.

Nokia

Nokia is a major player in the Open RAN market, offering a wide range of products and solutions that support the deployment of open and interoperable networks. Their approach to Open RAN includes both hardware and software components, designed to meet the diverse needs of network operators. Nokia’s extensive experience and leadership in the telecom industry make them a key contributor to the development and proliferation of Open RAN standards and technologies.

Samsung

Samsung is heavily invested in the Open RAN movement, providing cutting-edge solutions that include baseband units, radios, and core network technologies. Their Open RAN offerings are focused on delivering high performance, scalability, and flexibility, enabling operators to build more efficient and cost-effective networks. Samsung’s commitment to innovation in Open RAN is further demonstrated by their participation in various industry collaborations and trials, solidifying their position as a leading force in the Open RAN arena.

Airspan

Airspan, known for its innovative wireless solutions, is actively engaged in the Open RAN ecosystem. Their Open RAN products focus on enhancing network capacity, coverage, and user experience. Airspan’s solutions are characterized by their versatility, supporting a range of deployment scenarios from urban to rural. Their involvement in numerous Open RAN initiatives and partnerships underscores their commitment to advancing this technology and contributing to the diversification of the telecom industry.

AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) plays a crucial role in the Open RAN ecosystem, primarily through cloud computing and infrastructure services. AWS provides the scalable, flexible, and efficient cloud infrastructure necessary for deploying and managing Open RAN networks. Their comprehensive cloud services enable operators to leverage the benefits of virtualization and automation, key components of Open RAN architectures. AWS’s global reach and cloud expertise are instrumental in supporting the deployment and operation of Open RAN networks worldwide.

Baicells

Baicells is a rising star in the Open RAN market, specializing in innovative LTE and 5G solutions. Their focus on Open RAN is evident in their development of flexible, cost-effective base stations and cloud-based RAN solutions. Baicells’ approach to Open RAN is centered around enhancing network performance and accessibility, particularly in underserved areas. Their commitment to open standards and interoperability makes them a valuable player in expanding the reach and capabilities of Open RAN networks.

Ciena Blue Planet

Ciena Blue Planet, a division of Ciena, is contributing to the Open RAN ecosystem with its software-centric network solutions. Their focus on network automation and orchestration aligns well with the principles of Open RAN, enabling more agile and efficient network operations. Blue Planet’s solutions are designed to simplify the management of multi-vendor, multi-layer networks, a critical aspect in the deployment of Open RAN architectures. Their commitment to open, programmable networks positions them as an important enabler in the evolution of more adaptable and sustainable network infrastructures.

Cisco

Cisco is a key player in the Open RAN market, offering a range of networking and infrastructure solutions that support the deployment of open and interoperable networks. Their expertise in IP networking, coupled with their commitment to open standards, makes their Open RAN solutions particularly effective in enhancing network performance and flexibility. Cisco’s involvement in various industry consortia and strategic partnerships demonstrates their dedication to advancing Open RAN technologies and supporting the transformation of global mobile networks.

NTT Data

NTT Data, part of the NTT Group, brings its vast experience in IT services and solutions to the Open RAN ecosystem. Their approach to Open RAN focuses on integrating advanced technologies such as AI and IoT to enhance network efficiency and capabilities. NTT Data’s solutions are designed to support the operational and business needs of network operators, facilitating the transition to more open, agile, and customer-centric networks. Their global presence and expertise in technology services make them a valuable contributor to the Open RAN movement.

NuRAN Wireless

NuRAN Wireless is focused on providing cost-effective and efficient solutions for Open RAN deployments, particularly in rural and remote areas. Their technology is designed to extend network coverage and improve connectivity in underserved regions, aligning with the core principles of Open RAN. NuRAN’s commitment to affordable and accessible network solutions demonstrates their dedication to bridging the digital divide and supporting the global expansion of Open RAN technology.

Quanta

Quanta, primarily known for its manufacturing expertise, is involved in the Open RAN market by providing essential hardware components. Their offerings include servers and other infrastructure equipment that are crucial for the deployment of Open RAN networks. Quanta’s focus on quality, efficiency, and scalability in their products aligns with the needs of modern, flexible network architectures. Their participation in the Open RAN ecosystem is a testament to their commitment to supporting the evolution of more open and interoperable network solutions.

Radisys

Radisys is a prominent contributor to the Open RAN ecosystem, offering a range of software and hardware solutions that facilitate the deployment of open, disaggregated networks. Their focus on innovation in Open RAN is reflected in their development of advanced network elements and management tools. Radisys’ solutions are designed to enhance network performance, scalability, and flexibility, supporting the transition to more agile and cost-effective mobile networks. Their active involvement in industry collaborations and partnerships further underscores their commitment to advancing Open RAN technologies.

Sercomm

Sercomm, a global manufacturer of telecom equipment, is actively engaged in the Open RAN market. Their offerings include a variety of network devices and components that are essential for Open RAN deployments. Sercomm’s focus on interoperability and quality in their products is key to supporting the growth of Open RAN networks. Their involvement in Open RAN initiatives reflects their commitment to contributing to the development of more open and flexible network infrastructures.

Tech Mahindra

Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation services, is leveraging its expertise in IT and networks to drive innovation in the Open RAN space. Their solutions encompass a range of services, from network design and deployment to management and optimization, tailored to support Open RAN architectures. Tech Mahindra’s approach to Open RAN is centered around enabling more efficient, agile, and customer-focused networks. Their global presence and comprehensive service offerings make them a key partner in the deployment and evolution of Open RAN networks.

VANU

VANU specializes in providing innovative wireless solutions, with a particular focus on Open RAN. Their technology is designed to enhance network accessibility and coverage, especially in rural and remote areas. VANU’s approach to Open RAN emphasizes flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, aligning with the goal of extending connectivity to underserved communities. Their commitment to open standards and interoperability in their solutions demonstrates their dedication to advancing the reach and capabilities of Open RAN technology.

What is Radio Access Network (RAN)?

The radio access network (RAN) is one of the domains in a mobile network that is part of the mobile ecosystem. RAN connects end-user devices to the mobile network over the radio waves. RAN consists of a number of functional parts that are implemented through hardware and software components. RAN makes up one of the more significant expenditures of the mobile network, while from an end-user perspective, RAN makes up between 3-4% of wireless revenues (sum of end-user spending on mobile services). Large network equipment vendors traditionally sell RAN as integrated solutions where the radio, hardware, and software components are tightly integrated, and the RAN internal interfaces are proprietary (not open).

RAN Evolution by VIAVI - TeckNexus
RAN Evolution | Image Credit: Viavi | Click on the image to read the related Viavi Open RAN article in the 5G Magazine

3GPP today allows operators to mix and match different RAN suppliers across different geographical areas but does not allow operators to use different suppliers of discrete RAN components on a single cell site installation. To swap out a RAN supplier of integrated solutions or of proprietary OpenRAN solution is resource-demanding for a mobile network operator. The economic trade-off: performance of integrated solutions versus flexibility of multi-vendor interoperable OpenRAN solutions is a choice that mobile network operators face. Due to the integrated nature of the traditional RAN equipment and interfaces’ or proprietary OpenRAN solutions, the network operators cannot mix and match RAN subcomponents from different vendors.

 

What is Open RAN?

In simple terms, Open RAN is an industrial concept that includes; virtualization, automation, and RAN internal open interfaces. Disaggregation and automation of RAN can be achieved in a number of different ways, including by solutions offered by traditional vendors. In this sense, Open RAN can be realized by 3GPP and O-RAN alliance specifications or proprietary non-standard-based solutions.

O-RAN Alliance, in addition to what 3GPP enables, also specifies open RAN internal interfaces between the main building blocks of the radio access networks – Radio Unit (RU), Distributed Unit (DU), and Centralized Unit (CU). This would enable a mix and match between RAN components from different vendors. It is also essential to consider that since RAN is only one part of the mobile network, 3GPP is the only available specification that standardizes end-to-end a fully functional mobile network (2G/3G/4G/5G) that is interoperable and multi-vendor interoperable. O-RAN alliance specifications are only focused on RAN and currently only cover 5G.

The three main building blocks of the RAN are:

  • Radio Unit (RU) – it transmits, receives, amplifies, and digitizes the radio frequencies. It is located near or integrated into the antenna.
  • Distributed Unit (DU) – it is responsible for real-time L1 and L2 scheduling functions. In a centralized 5G cloud RAN deployment, the DU’s physical and software layers are hosted in a central office or an edge cloud data center.
  • Centralized Unit (CU) – it is responsible for non-real-time L2 and L3 functions. In a centralized 5G cloud RAN deployment, the CU physical and software layers can be co-located with the DU or hosted in the regional cloud data center.

O-RAN alliance specifications that build on top of 3GPP RAN specification add additional functions and open RAN internal interfaces. If based on a specification like the O-RAN alliance, these functions and interfaces can potentially ensure multi-vendor interoperability and hence allow network operators to mix and match RAN internal components.

To achieve multi-vendor interoperability, individual vendors that offer products compliant with O-RAN alliance specifications must perform interoperability tests between different vendors’ solutions (and future software updates) that may or may not be built on proprietary vendor implementations. Mobile network operators can have integrated RAN products in one portion of the network and O-RAN compliant RAN products in another geographical part of the network.

Additionally, the disaggregated hardware and software RAN components enable the network operator to upgrade software functionality without ripping out & replacing the underlying physical infrastructure, i.e., future-proof their 5G hardware infrastructure investments.

 

What is O-RAN?

O-RAN refers to the O-RAN alliance and the specifications defined by the O-RAN alliance. O-RAN alliance is defining specifications to make radio access networks open, intelligent, virtualized, and fully interoperable. O-RAN alliance’s unique contribution compared to the examples above is to add the mix and match possibility of vendors of discrete RAN components.

AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, and Orange founded the O-RAN alliance in 2018. It currently has participation from 20+ global mobile operators and 200+ companies (vendors and research and institutions) operating in the radio access network industry.

It is taking 3GPP specifications as a base and extending the specifications in the RAN domain. O-RAN Alliance focusses on the below three streams:

  • Specifications effort, i.e., defining new standards for open and intelligent RAN.
  • O-RAN software community, i.e., driving open software development for the RAN, in cooperation with the Linux Foundation
  • Testing and integration effort, i.e., supporting O-RAN member companies in testing and integrating their O-RAN implementations.

 

What is OpenRAN?

OpenRAN refers to the initiatives driven by the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP’s) OpenRAN project groupOpenRAN is accelerating innovation and commercialization in the RAN domain with multi-vendor interoperable products and solutions that are easy to integrate into the operator’s network and are verified for different deployment scenarios.

TIP’s OpenRAN program drives the development of disaggregated and interoperable 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G NR (RAN) solutions based on service provider requirements. It has brought together operators, traditional and emerging vendors leveraging open-source approaches and technologies.

 

What is Virtual RAN (vRAN)?

Radio access network functions designed and implemented as virtual network functions (VNFs) are termed virtualized RAN (vRAN).

In the vRAN solution

  • The radio unit still runs on proprietary hardware.
  • The baseband unit can run on the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) server instead of proprietary hardware. The software that runs on the baseband unit is virtualized to run on the COTS server.
  • The interfaces between the RAN subcomponents are proprietary.

To summarize, vRAN offers the benefits of Open RAN associated with virtualization and automation but is still implemented on proprietary hardware and proprietary interfaces and does not allow for mix and match of RAN hardware and software.

 

What is Cloud RAN?

Cloud RAN is a virtualized radio access network (vRAN) based on cloud-native architecture. Cloud RAN architecture supports cloud-native characteristics such as containerization, microservices, and CI/CD (continuous integration/ continuous deployment). This means that on top of vRAN, Cloud RAN also allows for the implementation of vendor-specific software on general-purpose hardware.

In this sense, it offers one avenue to mix and match suppliers in parts of the RAN hardware and software. Open RAN benefits associated with virtualization and automation can be realized without the introduction of an open RAN internal interfaces.

Based on publicly announced ongoing/planned Open RAN deployments & trials as of May 2021, the top 7 System Integrators for open RAN are:

  • NEC
  • Rakuten (RCP Platform)
  • Everis | NTT Data
  • TechM
  • Amdocs
  • IBM
  • Parallel Wireless

Based on publicly announced ongoing/planned Open RAN deployments & trials as of May 2021, below are the top 6 RAN chip vendors for open RAN

  • Intel
  • Qualcomm
  • Xilinx
  • NVIDIA
  • Saankhya Labs
  • SignalChip

The Top 18 Radio Unit Vendors for Open RAN, as identified from ongoing and planned deployments and trials announced publicly up to May 2021, are showcased below. This selection highlights the leading companies that are shaping the future of Open RAN through their innovative solutions and strategic initiatives in this dynamic sector.

NEC 

NEC is a key contributor to the Open RAN movement, leveraging its expertise in network and communication technologies. The company offers a comprehensive range of Open RAN solutions, including hardware and software elements that support various deployment scenarios. NEC’s focus on innovation and quality in Open RAN is evident through its partnerships with telecom operators and technology vendors worldwide. Their solutions are designed to enhance network flexibility, scalability, and efficiency, aligning with the global push towards more open and interoperable wireless networks.

Fujitsu 

Fujitsu has emerged as a prominent player in the Open RAN market, offering a range of solutions that emphasize reliability, efficiency, and interoperability. Their Open RAN offerings are designed to meet the needs of diverse network operators, supporting a variety of deployment scenarios. Fujitsu’s commitment to innovation in Open RAN is evidenced by their active participation in industry consortia and partnerships with other tech giants. Through these collaborations, Fujitsu aims to drive the development and adoption of Open RAN technologies globally.

Gigatera 

Gigatera, although a lesser-known player in the Open RAN market, is making impactful strides with its specialized solutions. Their offerings focus on enhancing the performance and efficiency of Open RAN deployments, particularly in terms of radio frequency and network optimization. Gigatera’s role in the Open RAN ecosystem is marked by their commitment to delivering innovative, high-quality products that align with the evolving needs of mobile network operators.

Lime Microsystems 

Lime Microsystems specializes in field-programmable RF (radio frequency) transceivers for Open RAN and other wireless applications. Their technology is pivotal in enabling flexible and customizable radio solutions that are essential for Open RAN deployments. Lime Microsystems’ commitment to open-source and software-defined radio technologies demonstrates their dedication to advancing the Open RAN concept, allowing for more versatile and adaptable network configurations.

Nokia 

Nokia is a major player in the Open RAN market, offering a wide range of products and solutions that support the deployment of open and interoperable networks. Their approach to Open RAN includes both hardware and software components, designed to meet the diverse needs of network operators. Nokia’s extensive experience and leadership in the telecom industry make them a key contributor to the development and proliferation of Open RAN standards and technologies.

Airspan 

Airspan, known for its innovative wireless solutions, is actively engaged in the Open RAN ecosystem. Their Open RAN products focus on enhancing network capacity, coverage, and user experience. Airspan’s solutions are characterized by their versatility, supporting a range of deployment scenarios from urban to rural. Their involvement in numerous Open RAN initiatives and partnerships underscores their commitment to advancing this technology and contributing to the diversification of the telecom industry.

Sercomm 

Sercomm, a global manufacturer of telecom equipment, is actively engaged in the Open RAN market. Their offerings include a variety of network devices and components that are essential for Open RAN deployments. Sercomm’s focus on interoperability and quality in their products is key to supporting the growth of Open RAN networks. Their involvement in Open RAN initiatives reflects their commitment to contributing to the development of more open and flexible network infrastructures.

VANU 

VANU specializes in providing innovative wireless solutions, with a particular focus on Open RAN. Their technology is designed to enhance network accessibility and coverage, especially in rural and remote areas. VANU’s approach to Open RAN emphasizes flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, aligning with the goal of extending connectivity to underserved communities. Their commitment to open standards and interoperability in their solutions demonstrates their dedication to advancing the reach and capabilities of Open RAN technology.”

Baicells 

Baicells is a rising star in the Open RAN market, specializing in innovative LTE and 5G solutions. Their focus on Open RAN is evident in their development of flexible, cost-effective base stations and cloud-based RAN solutions. Baicells’ approach to Open RAN is centered around enhancing network performance and accessibility, particularly in underserved areas. Their commitment to open standards and interoperability makes them a valuable player in expanding the reach and capabilities of Open RAN networks. 

Comba Telecom

Comba Telecom has made notable strides in the Open RAN domain, positioning itself as a key player among the top 18 Radio Unit Vendors for Open RAN. Specializing in advanced wireless solutions, Comba Telecom offers a range of products that are integral to the deployment of Open RAN networks. Their solutions, which include innovative radio units and antennas, are designed to enhance network efficiency and coverage. Comba Telecom’s commitment to Open RAN is evident in their focus on interoperability and compatibility with multi-vendor environments, a crucial aspect of Open RAN deployments. Their growing influence in the market is further augmented by strategic partnerships with other telecom giants, reinforcing their role in the global expansion and adoption of Open RAN solutions.

Dense Air

Dense Air stands out in the Open RAN ecosystem for its unique approach to enhancing network capacity and coverage, especially in densely populated urban areas. As a leading provider among the top 18 Radio Unit Vendors for Open RAN, Dense Air focuses on delivering small cell solutions that are crucial for the success of Open RAN deployments. Their products are designed to seamlessly integrate into existing networks, providing an efficient and cost-effective way to boost capacity where it’s most needed. Dense Air’s solutions are well-aligned with the Open RAN philosophy of open interfaces and vendor-neutral infrastructure, enabling more flexible and scalable network deployments. Their involvement in various Open RAN initiatives and collaborations showcases their dedication to advancing this technology and addressing the challenges of urban connectivity.

Ericsson

Ericsson is a major player in the Open RAN space, renowned for its extensive experience and innovation in telecommunication technologies. As part of the top 18 Radio Unit Vendors for Open RAN, Ericsson offers a variety of solutions that support the Open RAN ecosystem, including advanced radio units that are crucial for network efficiency and performance. Their approach to Open RAN is characterized by a commitment to open standards and interoperability, ensuring their products seamlessly integrate with systems from other vendors. Ericsson’s significant market share and global presence are bolstered by numerous partnerships and collaborations, solidifying their influence in driving forward the Open RAN initiative and shaping the future of wireless networks.

Evenstar

Evenstar, though relatively new in the telecom sector, has quickly established itself as an important contributor to the Open RAN movement. Focused on democratizing the design and deployment of radio units, Evenstar’s approach aligns with the Open RAN vision of open and flexible network architectures. Their collaboration with leading technology and telecom companies enables them to offer cost-effective and scalable radio unit solutions, vital for the widespread adoption of Open RAN. Evenstar’s dedication to innovation and affordability in radio access network technology marks them as a key enabler in the transition towards more open and agile mobile networks.

ExteNet Systems

ExteNet Systems is recognized among the top 18 Radio Unit Vendors for Open RAN, particularly for their work in distributed networks and small cell technology. Their solutions are integral in enhancing network coverage and capacity, especially in high-demand urban environments. ExteNet’s focus on scalable and flexible network infrastructures aligns with the core principles of Open RAN, promoting open interfaces and multi-vendor interoperability. Their expertise in both indoor and outdoor network solutions, coupled with strategic partnerships in the telecom industry, positions ExteNet Systems as a pivotal player in advancing Open RAN deployments.

JMA Wireless

JMA Wireless has carved a niche for itself in the Open RAN ecosystem with its innovative radio unit technologies and solutions. As a part of the top 18 Radio Unit Vendors, JMA Wireless focuses on developing products that enhance network performance and scalability. Their commitment to Open RAN is reflected in their dedication to creating flexible and interoperable solutions that support the evolving needs of mobile operators. JMA Wireless’s expertise in advanced antenna and radio technologies makes them a key contributor to the development of efficient and adaptable Open RAN networks.

MTI

MTI is known for its strong presence in the Open RAN market, particularly in the development and manufacturing of high-quality radio units. Their position among the top 18 Radio Unit Vendors is underscored by their commitment to innovation and reliability in product design. MTI’s solutions are tailored to support the Open RAN initiative, offering interoperability and flexibility that are crucial for modern telecom networks. Their active engagement in collaborative projects and partnerships within the industry demonstrates their dedication to advancing Open RAN and contributing to the future of wireless communication technologies.

Saankhya Labs

Saankhya Labs is gaining recognition in the Open RAN field for its pioneering work in software-defined radio (SDR) technologies. As one of the top 18 Radio Unit Vendors, their focus on developing versatile and efficient radio solutions aligns perfectly with the Open RAN philosophy of open standards and network flexibility. Saankhya Labs’ innovative approach to radio technology, including their emphasis on AI-powered solutions, positions them at the forefront of the Open RAN movement, driving the evolution of more intelligent and adaptive wireless networks.

Vilicom

Vilicom has made a significant impact in the Open RAN sector with its specialized services and solutions focused on enhancing network connectivity and performance. As part of the elite group of top 18 Radio Unit Vendors for Open RAN, Vilicom offers expertise in network design, implementation, and optimization. Their commitment to Open RAN principles is evident in their approach to creating bespoke solutions that promote flexibility, scalability, and interoperability in network deployments. Vilicom’s role in various Open RAN projects and their collaboration with industry leaders underline their dedication to contributing to the advancement and success of Open RAN technologies.

Challenges of Deploying and Managing O-RAN based networks

Interoperability and end-to-end performance will be by far the biggest concerns on the minds of vendors and operators in an O-RAN environment. Imagine all the advanced coordination features, power control algorithms, and intra-technology interactions in a multi-vendor RAN. Today, having one vendor simplifies all that. And, when product-related network performance issues arise, which is inevitable, service providers work with only one vendor to resolve them.

Now imagine a network where RAN components such as central unit, distributed unit, and radio unit are supplied and supported by multiple vendors – operators and vendors will face greater challenges in both identifying and isolating issues as well as ensuring that performance/cost compares favorably to that of an optimized single vendor solution.

Another key challenge of an O-RAN-based multi-vendor network will be network management and resource management. Management of multi-vendor spares and training resources to maintain a multi-vendor network will be a learning curve for service providers’ operations teams. Not to forget, integrating new functions and orchestration of new services from various vendors in an O-RAN-based network will be another key challenge.

To overcome the above challenges, O-RAN ALLIANCE has been working with its members and contributors, including VIAVI and AMDOCS, to deliver a reference architecture designed to enable next-generation RAN infrastructures. This reference architecture will be based on well-defined, standardized interfaces to enable an open, interoperable supply chain ecosystem in full support of and complementary to standards promoted by 3GPP and other industry standards organizations.

In short, the challenges for deploying and managing an Open RAN solution

  • Integrating and ongoing management of the complex multi-vendor Open RAN solution
  • Validating the interoperability of the multi-vendor RAN components
  • Orchestration of multi-vendor RAN components
  • Accountability for issue resolution
  • Ensuring the network performance is comparable to an optimized single vendor solution

Based on the analysis of publicly announced Open RAN deployments and trials as of June 2021, below are top business drivers:

  • Reduce Cost
  • Flexibility and Efficiency
  • Rural Areas (Low Traffic Areas)
  • Accelerate Expansion
  • Diverse Vendor Ecosystem
  • Future-proof | Interoperability of 3G, 4G, 5G Radio Units
  • Network Densification in High Traffic Areas
  • 5G Rollout
  • Better Quality of Service (QoS) to Customers
  • Green Field Deployments
  • Private Networks
  • Edge Computing

 

Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Telecom Italia signed a memorandum of understanding to support the rollout of Open RAN networks across Europe. They will work with ecosystem vendors, and industry bodies such as the O-RAN Alliance, TIP, and European policymakers to ensure Open RAN technology becomes competitive with the traditional RAN solutions.”

Link -> OPEN RAN TECHNICAL PRIORITIES EXECUTIVE SUMMARY UNDER THE OPEN RAN MOU by Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, TIM, and Vodafone


 

Telefonica

Telefonica is planning to deploy Open RAN technology in the below three phases:

  • Initial Phase (2020-2021): Pilots & Trials
  • Phase 1 (2021-2022): Initial deployments
  • Phase 2 (2022 and onwards): Massive deployments in Spain, Brazil, Germany, and the UK

The objective is to deploy Open RAN in 50% of the network between 2022-2025. Telefonica also signed an agreement with Rakuten Mobile in Sep 2020 for research and lab trials supporting OpenRAN architecture, jointly developing proposals for optimal 5G RAN architecture and OpenRAN models.

In Brazil, Telefonica’s brand Vivo already conducted Open RAN technology-based trials for 4G and 5G with Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, Altiostar, Supermicro, Intel, Gigatera Communications, and Xilinx.

In Argentina, Telefonica’s brand Movistar conducts Open RAN proof-of-concept with Altiostar, RedHat, Quanta, Gigatera, Kontron, and IBM.

Telefonica’s Deutschland went live with the Open RAN network at three sites in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, and plans to deploy Open RAN at 1000 sites in Germany by the end of 2022. The ecosystem vendor for Open RAN deployment includes Altiostar, Gigatera Communications, Dell, Intel, Red Hat, Supermicro, Xilinx, and NEC.

In Jan 2020 Telefonica O2 initiated a range of Open RAN (O-RAN) projects to provide better network service to its customers in the rural areas and dense urban hubs, with the expectation of commercial deployment in the next 18-24 months. O2 partnered with non-traditional RAN vendors – Mavenir, DenseAir, and WaveMobile for the O-RAN projects.

  • In partnership with Mavenir, O2 enhanced coverage and capacity in high-density environments in London. They provide enhanced mobile connectivity and a better customer experience in areas such as stadiums to shopping centers.
  • In partnership with DenseAir, O2 is deploying O-RAN-based 4G and 5G networks at Millbrook. O2 works with Millbrook Proving Ground, a neutral host provider for public and private 5G connectivity, for testing and developing CAV technology.
  • O2 has deployed O-RAN-based coverage solutions developed with WaveMobile, across several sites in the UK, including Woldingham, Surrey, which carry mobile traffic for O2 customers

In Jan 2021, leveraging the work done in the last 12 months, O2 conducted a successful Open RAN trial with NEC, Altiostar, GigaTera, Supermicro, and other ecosystem partners.

  • NEC developed customized Open RAN architecture, conducted end-to-end testing and interoperability verification in its UK center of excellence running via O2’s core network
  • Alitostar provided the virtualized RAN software
  • GigaTera and Supermicro provided the hardware for the trial

Link -> Telefónica views on the design, architecture, and technology of 4G/5G Open RAN networks

  •  

 

Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom plans to deploy in 2021, Open RAN technology-based 4G and 5G services at 25 sites in Neubrandenburg, a city north of Berlin, in Germany. The key vendors part of this Open RAN validation process include Mavenir, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia, Dell, and others. Based on the results of the small deployment, DT may plan for wider deployment of Open RAN technology in 2023-24.


 

Orange

Orange plans to deploy solely Open RAN compliant network equipment starting 2025 and conduct virtual and automated network trials by the end of this year. They believe that Open RAN will provide opportunities to the new vendors but not at the expense of Nokia and Ericsson.


 

Telecom Italia

Telecom Italia is deploying Open RAN technology for 4G services in Faenza, Italy. The Open RAN deployment initiative is part of the signed MoU between Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Telecom Italia to deploy Open RAN technology across Europe. The key vendors enabling the Open RAN-based 4G deployment for TIM include JMA wireless and Microelectronics Technology (MTI). TIM will extend the Open RAN solution to support 5G services in the future.


 

Vodafone

Ireland: Vodafone plans to launch Open RAN-based 4G services at 30 locations in Ireland, in partnership with Parallel Wireless. It was initially trialed in North Kildare and then rolled out across the North West region.  Additionally, Vodafone will also leverage system integrators to improve product automation covering zero-touch provisioning, testing, and operational process definition for Open RAN. In this process, it will further extend the developing ecosystem to include RAN automation vendors.

UK: Vodafone has launched the first commercial OpenRAN 4G site in a rural area at the Royal Welsh Showground in Powys, Wales, the UK, with Mavenir, Dell, Kontron, and Lime Microsystems. In Nov 2020, Vodafone announced that it would be deploying OpenRAN technology at 2,600 mobile sites across Wales and the South West of England. Italy, Romania, and Spain: Vodafone also conducted field/lab trials with Open RAN technology for 4G services with Parallel Wireless and Lime Microsystems, in Italy, Romania, and Spain. Vodafone Ziggo (Netherlands): Vodafone Ziggo is conducting a trial of Open RAN technology with NEC Europe and Altiostar. They tested the first voice call over the Open RAN network in Oct 2020. They plan to integrate solutions from other technology and radio vendors using commercial off-the-shelf hardware from third parties to transform the VodafoneZiggo network into a software-based network. Globally across countries:

Vodafone also announced in Nov 2020 that it would open multiple OpenRAN Research & Development labs across Europe. This is another commitment to the Open RAN ecosystem as a part of Vodafone’s European innovation strategy. In April 2021, Vodafone opened its first Open RAN test and integration lab at Newbury, UK, tech campus. The lab is currently in the early stages of development, and it will have 30 Vodafone engineers to integrate and test Open RAN technology from multiple vendors. 

Vodafone partnered with Qualcomm to develop the reference designs and technical blueprint for more equipment suppliers to help build the 5G networks of the future using Open RAN technology, enabling further diversification of network equipment vendors.

The Open RAN reference design will combine Vodafone’s engineering expertise at building high capacity, large-scale networks with Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership in developing high performance and low power Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) solutions for device and infrastructure products. The combined solution will ensure Open RAN is ready for use in 5G networks and capable of supporting applications with high bandwidth requirements such as virtual and augmented reality devices, even in urban areas.


The current state of Open RAN in North America


 

AT&T (United States)

AT&T has commercially deployed an Open RAN-based 5G network at a few sites in Dallas in Aug 2020 with Ericsson and Samsung. AT&T has also conducted several O-RAN trials to demonstrate a mmWave 5G gNB and open front haul leveraging developments with CommScope and Intel. They are expected to incorporate O-RAN-compliant network equipment in their network from 2022 and maintain the same level of high performance.

AT&T believes that the industry will gradually introduce Open RAN into existing networks, and some deployments may continue to use existing traditional network infrastructure.

 

Dish Network (United States)

The dish network is building the cloud-native, Open RAN technology-based 5G broadband network that would comply with its O-RAN specifications. They tested a fully virtualized standalone 5G core using the industry’s first O-RAN compliant FDD radio by MTI, along with Nokia and Mavenir in Wyoming in Dec 2020.  The key vendors part of the Dish 5G network ecosystem includes Altiostar, Mavenir, Fujitsu, Intel, Qualcomm, Nokia, VMware, Ciena Blue Planet, Matrixx, Hansen Technologies, DigitalRoute, and MTI. DISH will use AWS Outposts and AWS Local Zones to build its 5G Open RAN network in the cloud.

The dish is a strong proponent of Open RAN.

 

Inland Cellular (United States)

Inland Cellular deployed TIP OpenRAN based solution for commercially launching 4G services and laid the foundation for future OpenRAN based 5G services. ExteNet Systems, Parallel Wireless, Dell EMC, and Intel are the key vendors in their 4G Open RAN deployment. Inland Cellular opted for Open RAN for price and features. It helps them drop each cell cost by about 40%.

 

OptimERA Cellular (United States)

OptimERA, a telecommunication provider in Alaska, is working on Open RAN-based LTE services with Parallel wireless to provide broadband services to consumers and businesses.  

Verizon Cellular (United States)

Verizon believes that operators should decide for themselves depending on the circumstances whether Open RAN or traditional proprietary network is the right choice. They have mentioned to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of the agency’s inquiry into open RAN that much work needs to be done from a standards perspective. There are adoption challenges, specifically for existing networks (compared to greenfield deployment). Verizon plans to use Open RAN equipment to construct a 5G network in its mmWave and C-band spectrum once its existing vendors – Ericsson, Samsung, and Nokia start supplying open RAN compliant equipment later this year. Early this year, Verizon deployed 5G vRAN leveraging Samsung, Intel, HPE, and Wind River.

 

T-Mobile Cellular (United States)

T-Mobile currently does not have any plans to deploy Open RAN technology.  


The current state of Open RAN in South America


 

Internet Para Todos (IPT) (Peru)

Internet Para Todos (IPT), a wholesale operator in Peru owned by Telefonica, Facebook, and Latin American banks IDB Invest and CAF Bank, launched commercial 4G mobile broadband based on TIP OpenRAN architecture based in May 2019. IpT will offer wholesale connectivity access on the revenue share model to mobile operators for delivering communication services to rural communities. Parallel Wireless and Altiostar are the key OpenRAN vendors in this deployment.

 

Millicom Tigo (Columbia)

Millicom plans to deploy 4G services in rural parts of Columbia via O-RAN compliant technology via Parallel Wireless. The first phase of deployment will begin early 2022, followed by new rollouts over a 4-year period. Parallel Wireless will also be a key system integrator, bringing together ecosystem partners for hardware, software, RIC, orchestration, and applications.

 

Telefonica (Brazil)

Telefonica Vivo conducted Open RAN technology-based trials for 4G and 5G in Brazil, with Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, Altiostar, Gigatera Communications, Supermicro, Intel, and Xilinx. They are also validating AWS outposts as infrastructure options. This is part of Telefonica’s wider strategy to conduct O-RAN trials across its core markets of Germany, Spain, the UK, and Brazil.

 

Movistar (Argentina)

Movistar, the Telefonica brand, is conducting Open RAN proof-of-concept in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Altiostar, RedHat, Quanta, Gigatera, and Kontron are key vendors in this Open RAN proof-of-concept. IBM is the system integrator responsible for end-to-end deployment & integration of components from the mentioned vendors for this Open RAN trial.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Japan


  Rakuten Mobile

Rakuten Mobile has launched 4G and 5G commercial services based on open RAN architecture in Japan, leveraging multiple vendors’ radios. The key vendors in Rakuten deployments include Altiostar, Cisco, Nokia, Intel, IBM Red Hat, OKI, Fujitsu, Ciena, NEC/Netcracker, Qualcomm, Mavenir, Quanta Cloud Technology, Sercomm, Tech Mahindra, Allot, Innoeye, Viavi, Robin.io, Radcom, and Airspan.

Rakuten has signed separate MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) with NEC and Fujitsu to develop open RAN solutions for the global market. Fujitsu will develop new O-RAN-based 4G and 5G radio units that Rakuten Mobile will integrate into its Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) offering. As per the MoU, NEC will expand its existing domestic collaboration with Rakuten to provide 5G and 4G Radios and engineering services for Open RAN systems aligned with O-RAN specifications.

Rakuten is in discussion with more than 15 operators to develop a blueprint of Open RAN deployments based on RCP.

  • Telefonica signed an agreement with Rakuten Mobile in Sep 2020 for research and lab trials supporting OpenRAN architecture and jointly developing proposals for optimal 5G RAN architecture and OpenRAN models.
  • Etisalat Group and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) already signed MoU with Rakuten in Jan 2021 and Dec 2020, respectively, to develop a reference blueprint for mobile broadband networks and open RAN technology based on RCP.
  • Ligado signed MoU with Rakuten Mobile to use RCP for the commercial trial of private 5G networks in Feb 2021. They will collaborate with enterprise customers on the advanced use cases and the technology stack for launching a mobile private 5G network offering.

 

NTT Docomo

NTT Docomo commercially deployed Open RAN-based 5G sites in Tokyo in Sept 2020 based on open interfaces (fronthaul and X2 interfaces) specified by O-RAN. The key vendors of this ecosystem include NEC, Samsung, Fujitsu, and Nokia.

They have been leading the O-RAN Alliance since early 2018, developing specifications and promoting solutions that enable operators to combine disaggregated base station equipment.  NTT Docomo also has an agreement with 12 vendors – Dell Technologies Japan, Fujitsu Limited, Intel, Mavenir, NEC Corporation, NTT DATA Corporation, NVIDIA, Qualcomm Technologies, Red Hat, VMware, Wind River, and Xilinx, to cooperate for building 5G Open RAN Ecosystem and accelerating the deployment of open radio access networks globally, to serve the diverse needs of the operators.

Docomo’s target is to package best-of-breed RAN and introduce, operate, and manage them based on demands from operators considering the open RAN introduction.


  KDDI

KDDI plans to deploy O-RAN compatible 5G radio units from Fujitsu for constructing virtualized base stations for 5G commercial services in Japan. The 5G radio units will use O-RAN specifications for the fronthaul interface for communicating with base station controllers. KDDI plans to provide end-to-end network slicing services with the 5G network.

 


The current state of Open RAN in India


  Jio

Reliance Jio is building its own 5G network based on Open RAN technology. Jio has already tested in-house-built 5G radios integrated with 5G core earlier this year. It plans to leverage the companies that have India-based manufacturing. Some of the companies that could potentially be part of the Jio 5G ecosystem include SignalChip, Saankhya Labs, Tejas Networks, Sterlite Technologies, and VVDN Technologies.

Radisys (acquired by Jio) and Qualcomm are already part of this ecosystem. Qualcomm’s venture arm plans to invest $97.1 million in Jio’s platform, about a 0.15% equity stake. In Oct 2020, Jio already achieved a milestone of 1Gbps, leveraging Qualcomm’s 5G RAN platforms.


  Bharti Airtel Bharti Airtel initiated partnered in early Nov 2021, with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, Accenture, Tata Consultancy (TCS) to test enterprise use cases using low-latency high-speed 5G Networks. They are working with Apollo Hospitals, Flipkart, and other manufacturing companies to demonstrate 5G solutions. The solutions will be deployed in the 5G test spectrum allotted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and will include use cases for Smart Factory, Smart Healthcare, Digital Twin, AR/VR based use cases, Connected Work-force, and more. The use cases will be conducted both at end-user locations and Bharti Airtel’s advanced 5G lab in Gurgaon.

Bharti Airtel has also deployed open RAN across multiple cities in India from Altiostar for 4G services. The software is 5G-ready, and as per Altiostar, it could seamlessly transition to 5G using the same network architecture. Airtel is a part of both the O-RAN Alliance and Telecom Infra Project (TIP), contributing actively to the standardization efforts. In Nov 2020, Airtel hosted the first plugfest event in the India region for O-RAN Alliance. Jointly with Alitostar and NEC demonstrated O-RAN option 7.2x split integrating virtualized O-DU from Altiostar.

Earlier in 2021, Airtel partnered with Qualcomm to deliver 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to deliver broadband connectivity for residential and business customers. It will utilize Qualcomm’s Open RAN platform via its network of vendors and device partners.

In addition to Qualcomm and Alitostar, Airtel has also partnered with Intel, Mavenir, and Tata Group.  


  Vodafone Idea Vodafone Idea, in India, has deployed Open RAN solution from Mavenir at multiple sites for supporting 4G services, since Dec 2019. They are committed to Open RAN and plan to extend the deployment of TDD and Massive MIMO sites across multiple cities in India. They have partnered with many Open RAN ecosystem vendors to develop solutions for India’s traffic requirements and build a 4G+ network by advancing the deployment of 5G technologies.     


The current state of Open RAN in Thailand


  National Telecom Public Company Limited (NT)

National Telecom Public Company Limited (NT) deployed an Open RAN-based private 5G network in Ban Chang, the westernmost district of Rayong Province in eastern Thailand, in partnership with Mavenir, Cisco, and 5GCT (local partner delivering end-to-end 5G smart cities solution).

Mavenir provided the cloud-native, open architecture-based private network solution comprising of 5G Open RAN, Millimeter wave (mmWave) radios, and 5G Core with Open API technology standards to enable state-run telco TOT (which merged NT along with CAT Telecom) to launch 5G. Cisco provided switching hardware and application services to enable the ‘smart’ components of the 5G solution.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Indonesia


  Indosat Ooredoo

Indosat Ooredoo, a cellular operator in Indonesia conducted OpenRAN field trials, including proof of concept and functional testing in April 2021. The field trials were carried out in several locations in the Maluku region as part of Indosat Ooredoo’s efforts to improve and expand its video grade 4G network for providing better internet services to its customers. The trials were supported by TIP OpenRAN Project Group and Parallel Wireless.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Malaysia


  Edotco

Edotco, leading regional integrated telecommunications infrastructure services partnered with TIP to deploy & test OpenRAN 4G sites at selected high traffic areas in Malaysia. Edotco will validate TIP OpenRAN in a Network as a Service environment, providing wholesale service to mobile service providers, starting with Celcom Axiata and extending to others over time.

 


The current state of Open RAN in Oceania


  Optus Australia

Optus, Australia’s second-largest mobile operator deployed an Open RAN solution from Parallel Wireless for providing 4G-based mobile connectivity for its customers in remote and underserved areas. Optus rolled out 5G in Australia in Nov 2019 and currently has network equipment from both Ericsson and Nokia.


The current state of Open RAN in Middle-East


 

Etisalat (UAE)

Etisalat, the UAE-based operator, was the first to launch an Open virtual Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) in Jan 2020. It gradually plans to expand the rollout of Open vRAN across the UAE. The key vendors in the Open vRAN deployment included Parallel Wireless, Altiostar, Cisco, and NEC. It is using commercial off-the-shelf hardware as an alternative to traditional proprietary network equipment.

Global Open RAN: Etisalat operates in 16 markets across Middle-east, Asia, and Africa. They recently signed an agreement with Parallel wireless to deploy O-RAN compliant network in Afghanistan in partnership with Intel and Supermicro, replacing existing legacy applications. Intel will provide a 3rd generation Xeon processer, which would run on Supermicro servers.

MoU with Rakuten: Etisalat has been exploring the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) for some time.They signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rakuten Mobile to develop a reference blueprint for mobile broadband networks and Open RAN technology based on the RCP.  

STC (Saudi Arabia)

STC tested O-RAN sessions in Saudi Arabia in partnership with STC Solutions and Altiostar in Dec 2020. The Open RAN testing aligns with STC’s DARE strategy for a bright digital future.

MoU with Rakuten: STC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rakuten Mobile to collaborate on various technologies, including OpenRAN deployment options for greenfield and brownfield use cases. The goal is to accelerate the delivery of mobile network services via OpenRAN technology.  


The current state of Open RAN in Africa (4G/5G)


 

MTN (Zamia, Mozambique, Uganda and Guinea Conakry, South Africa)

MTN has deployed over 200 commercial rural sites across its geographical footprint, using OpenRAN technology. They are projecting to deploy more than 5000 sites in rural areas across 21 operations, bringing 2G,3G, and 4G connectivity. Zambia: MTN technology group conducted the first trials of OpenRAN in 2018 and deployed commercial sites in 2019 in Zambia with Parallel Wireless. Mozambique: MTN conducted OpenRAN based trials for 4G in Mozambique. Key vendors included Parallel Wireless, Mavenir, CrowdCell, and Lime Microsystems. Uganda and Guinea Conakry: MTN has ongoing OpenRAN based operations for 4G commercial services in Uganda and Guinea Conakry, with VANU, Parallel Wireless, and NuRAN wireless. South Africa: MTN conducted 4G trials based on OpenRAN in South Africa with Parallel Wireless. As one of the key members of the TIP, MTN carries out solution testing on all hardware and software elements at its state-of-the-art head office in Johannesburg, South Africa.  

Vodafone (Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique)

  Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Vodacom has conducted trials with TIP OpenRAN in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with Parallel Wireless. Mozambique: Vodafone (Vodacom) conducted OpenRAN based trials for 4G in Mozambique. Key vendors included Parallel Wireless, Mavenir, CrowdCell, and Lime Microsystems.

Read the complete article in the 5G Magazine

Content, Design, And Lead Generation Services to Elevate your Marketing Efforts

Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.