Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone Group announced they will invest in Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) technology for future mobile networks across Europe.
They will allocate budget for the implementation and deployment of Open RAN solutions that benefit from new open virtualized architectures, software and hardware to build more agile and flexible mobile networks in the 5G era.
The four operators will work together with existing and new ecosystem partners, industry bodies like the O-RAN ALLIANCE and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), as well as European policy makers, to ensure Open RAN reaches competitive parity with traditional RAN solutions.
“Open RAN is the natural evolution of radio access technologies and it will be key for 5G networks. Telefonica believes the whole industry must work together to make it a reality,” Enrique Blanco, chief technology and information officer (CTIO) at Telefonica, said.
“Open RAN is the next major evolution of 5G RAN. Orange believes it is a strong opportunity for existing and emerging European actors to develop O-RAN based products and services, starting with indoor and rural areas,” Michael Trabbia, chief technology and information officer (CTIO) at Orange, said.
“Open RAN is about network innovation, flexibility and faster rollout. Deutsche Telekom is committed to its promotion, development and adoption to ensure the best network experience for our customers,” said Claudia Nemat, chief technology officer of Deutsche Telekom.
Vodafone Group chief technology officer Johan Wibergh said: “Opening up the market to new suppliers, with our ambition and government advocacy, will mean faster 5G deployment, cost-saving network efficiencies and world-class services.”
The implementation of Open RAN is expected to have a positive impact on the telecom market. In traditional RAN, the networks are deployed using fully integrated cell sites, where the radios, hardware and software are provided by a single supplier as a closed proprietary solution. Mobile operators are today re-evaluating the way their networks are deployed.
With Open RAN the industry is working towards standards and technical specifications that define open interfaces within the radio system, including hardware and software, so that networks can be deployed and operated based on mix-and-match components from different suppliers.
Operators will be able to draw on the reinvigorated supplier innovation to drive cost efficiencies and more flexibly deliver customized services in response to evolving customer demands.
The introduction of Open RAN, virtualization and automation will enable a fundamental change in the way operators manage networks and deliver services. Operators will be able to add or shift capacity more quickly for end users, automatically resolve network incidents or provide enterprise level services on-demand for industry 4.0.