Telefónica and Rakuten have announced a partnership to accelerate the development of Open RAN technology for 5G access and core networks, and the associated operations support systems (OSS). They will jointly test, develop and procure Open RAN systems. They will also develop proposals for the role of artificial intelligence in the RAN.
This announcement adds further momentum to the adoption of Open RAN and illustrates the growing commitment by key industry stakeholders. Rakuten has already commenced the rollout of its greenfield 5G network using Open RAN solutions, while Telefónica aims to have Open RAN in 50% of its network deployed between 2022 and 2025.
Open RAN technology is increasingly viewed as a must-have for future network buildout and management, especially with regards to building an AI-based system and the required OSS to manage it. This new industry perspective represents an addition to the original goals and aspirations for Open RAN – cost-efficiency and a means of diversifying the supply chain and mitigating political risks in the vendor landscape.