Vodafone in Turkey and Telefónica in Latin America will begin trials of open RAN platforms from vendors Altiostar, Mavenir, and Parallel Wireless.
The companies made the announcement during the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) gathering in London this week.
Facebook, Vodafone, and Telefónica are part of TIP’s OpenRAN project group which was created to find a way for operators to migrate to general purpose processing platforms (GPPP) with disaggregated software and reduce the cost of building mobile networks.
Last June the OpenRAN group issued a request for information (RFI) to vendors for products that use OpenRAN principles. Today it announced that Mavenir, Altiostar, and Parallel Wireless are the leading candidates because those companies have the most compliant, end-to-end platforms.
The RFIs were focused on 4G LTE RAN solutions, although Vodafone and Telefónica said they would also consider 2G and 3G platforms..
It appears that key to having a successful open RAN platform is by culling together difference companies to form an end-to-end solution.
Mavenir earlier this month announced that it had formed an Open RAN Partner Ecosystem that includes MTI, Baicell, NEC, Fujitsu, Sercomm, AceAxis, KMW, Benetel, CommScope, Blue Danube Systems, and Airrays. Mavenir will act as a systems integrator and said that by handling the multi-vendor integration and interoperability it can compete with traditional hardware-centric RAN vendors like Ericsson, Nokia, and Huawei.
Interestingly, Cisco announced a similar initiative in September with its Open vRAN Alliance. Cisco said that it had developed a pre-certified, pre-integrated open vRAN solution that is ready to deploy.
All these initiatives from TIP, Cisco, and Mavenir are supposed to be complementary to the ORAN Alliance’s efforts. The ORAN Alliance, which was created by combining the xRAN Forum with the C-RAN Alliance, recently announced that it had developed the M-Plane specification to allow the baseband unit and the radio unit to exchange information about things like configuration. This is necessary so that radios from different vendors can work together.