Report: open RAN groups O-RAN Alliance and Telecom Infra Project “will align” work

A combination of factors–anti-Huawei sentiment in some global markets, 5G scale prompting network economics shake ups and a a move toward programmable, software-based networking among them, are positioning open RAN players for a big 2020.

Parallel Wireless, for instance, today announced it will work with the Etisalat Group  will trial the vendor’s 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G solutions in parts of the operator’s Middle Eastern, Asian and African markets. Parallel bills this as an “All G” approach that “eliminates the need to maintain siloed legacy networks dedicated to just one G service resulting in opex cost reduction to maintain networks.”

Etisalat International’s CTO Hatem Bamatraf said in statement the trials figure into longer-term strategy around “efficiency and cost benefits” as well as “provid[ing]best-in-class customer experience.”

In the past few months, Parallel has announced operator wins with MTN and, significantly, with Vodafone, which is testing open network solutions in Turkey and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Significant in that Vodafone last year said it would open its entire European network footprint, 100,000 sites covering 2G-5G, out to tender and accept proposals from open RAN vendors as well as incumbents like Ericsson and Nokia.

Prior to the tender announcement, Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said in a statement the operator is “ready to fast track” open RAN “as we actively expand our vendor ecosystem.” He said the technology “Improves the network economics enabling us to reach more people in rural communities and that supports our goal to build digital societies in which no one is left behind.”

A few other things worth point out here. Parallel’s solution is labeled as OpenRAN rather than open RAN. The latter refers broadly to the idea of developing open interfaces and inoperability to build multi-vendor RAN sites using commodity hardware. OpenRAN is a specific Telecom Infra Project work item that contemplates open solutions covering 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. TIP describes OpenRAN as focused “on developing a vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology based on open interfaces and community-developed standards. Unlike traditional RAN, OpenRAN decouples hardware and software. This gives operators more flexibility as they deploy and upgrade their network architecture in various deployment scenarios and geographies.”

On the spec side, the O-RAN Alliance, a combination of the former XRAN Forum and C-RAN Alliance, is an operator-led group that develops actual specifications for things like open fronthaul, RAN controllers and so forth.

Back to Vodafone: This week Head of Network Strategy and Architecture Santiago Tenorio was elected to serve as Chairman of the Telecom Infra Project. “The TIP community has had a significant impact on opening up telecom networks to lower costs, increase innovation, and help operators extend the benefits of high quality connectivity to more communities across the world.”

Following this same theme of momentum and consolidation in the open RAN space, Bloomberg on Feb. 17 reported that the O-RAN Alliance “will align its work with the Telecom Infra Project, which was started by Facebook Inc. and is supported by several phone companies, said the people, who asked not to be named as the plans aren’t yet public.”



The post Parallel notches another operator win as open RAN poised for big 2020 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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