Nokia and O-RAN: an unwavering commitment
In recent weeks, O-RAN and the O-RAN ALLIANCE have been top of the telecom news agenda – and, alongside them, Nokia has been in the news too. For a short time, we had to pause our technical activity with the alliance while important legal issues were ironed out.
While much has been written in recent days about that decision, I want to re-iterate something that has not – and will not – change: Nokia is fully committed to O-RAN and a believer in the potential of O-RAN.
It is for that reason that we welcome the encouraging news that the O-RAN ALLIANCE has announced changes to its O-RAN participation documents and procedures, ensuring technical activities can continue in compliance with U.S. law. This important announcement enables us to get back to the exciting work we had to pause. Nokia’s technical contribution to the alliance restarts right now, right where it left off with energy, determination and that same unwavering commitment to O-RAN.
Nokia has long been a believer in – and champion of – open and interoperable technologies. We believe that Open RAN technology has the potential to enrich the mobile ecosystem with new solutions and business models, and an expanded multi-vendor ecosystem. This is what customers and consumers want – and it is something we are committed to seeing through.
Nokia’s commitment to both O-RAN and the O-RAN ALLIANCE, of which we were the first major vendor to join, remains just as strong today as it did when we first leaned in to these initiatives. Indeed, Nokia was the first large, established supplier to endorse and help to found the O-RAN ALLIANCE when it consisted of only five operators. Today, 26 of the 29 CSPs in the alliance are Nokia customers.
We also remain the strongest contributor to the alliance’s technical work. Nokia’s technical contributions are visible across most of the alliance’s ten working groups and four focus groups. Let me provide you with more details:
- Nokia co-chairs two of the ten working groups under the alliance: one focused on Near-Real-time RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller) and E2 interface development, with the other focused on open fronthaul interfaces.
- Nokia initiated the RIC co-create project with AT&T, which provided the first RIC implementation successfully demonstrating use cases on a live network.
- Nokia created the xApps concept as a way to monetize the architecture shift being led by O-RAN, and open up the RIC for ecosystem developers.
- Nokia launched the RIC xApps, a suite of plugins that offer CSPs advanced control of 5G radio network use cases, along with a commercial Service Enablement Platform earlier this year. The xApps project provided the foundation for the subsequent O-RAN Software Community (OSC) RIC development, where Nokia is an active contributor.
- Furthermore, Nokia is working to ensure alignment and leverage of synergies across O-RAN ALLIANCE, ETSI ZSM and 3GPP as this is essential to ensure cross-use cases, cross-domains, cross-planes, interoperable, unified and consistent AI-empower automation.
O-RAN specifications are still evolving and there are technical challenges to overcome and of course the ecosystem will take time to mature. The speed with which the O-RAN ALLIANCE has been able to resolve recent issues speaks to the spirit of community and co-operation on which it was founded. Rest assured that Nokia will continue to play a leading role in shaping its exciting future.