Openness as a lever for 5G success
As 5G deployments advance and we prepare to move towards 5G standalone deployments and Industrial IoT, the industry has begun to look at the potential benefits of having an expanded ecosystem of mobile access players in the market. It is no secret to anyone that the future role of Open RAN is a central topic of this discussion. Service providers, vendors and even governments are actively engaging and working together to define the role of open standards in evolving the 5G networks, enabling new services and enhanced overall network efficiency.
At Nokia, openness has long been a part of our organizational DNA. This is reflected in our history of strong participation in industry forums and open initiatives in general. We of course have a long history of collaboration in 3GPP, developing standards for all mobile technology generations, and in the last years have been very active in several open initiatives like OpenStack, ONAP, and OCP among others. And we are the only major mobile access vendor that is a founding member of the O-RAN Alliance and TIP.
Specific to O-RAN, we are actively co-leading two workgroups, focusing on the open fronthaul and on the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). In fact, the RIC is a key building block of the O-RAN architecture and the gateway for new developers to add functionalities to the radio network, via the creation of xApps (more on this in a future blog).
We strongly believe that all industry stakeholders must work together to create a path for adoption of Open RAN. This must be done in collaboration with CSPs and vendors, with each contributing to the standard definitions, including O-RAN interfaces, and defining a technically-driven plan for adoption. Governments can also engage by defining a regulatory environment that encourages the development and adoption of open solutions.
In fact, it has never been so important that governments have a decisive engagement in a telecommunications discussion like now. We all know that 5G represents a huge opportunity to boost productivity and make economies more competitive – ever more critical considering the situation the world is living through right now. To foster competitiveness and an efficient 5G services uptake, governments must do more than assign spectrum, which is of course very important. They must find ways to encourage and support the development of Open RAN solutions through policy and economic incentives.
We at Nokia are committed to delivering on the 5G transformation. And we believe that a well coordinated effort around open solutions will contribute for the success of this journey.
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