The German government last week announced the first projects to receive support from a €300 million fund created to develop and test open RAN technology. One of the winning projects is an open RAN test lab run by a consortium of partners including Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica. Meanwhile, Orange has launched its Open RAN Integration Center, the first test lab to be dedicated to open RAN technology in France.
The initiatives in Germany and France share the main objective of certifying that open RAN components are ready for market deployment. All four of the above-mentioned European operators earlier this year announced their commitment to implementing open RAN, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that promotes the timely deployment of open RAN technologies and makes clear that a concerted effort, including a supportive public policy environment, will be required. The launch of test labs shows that industry and governments are starting to deliver on these commitments by taking the first necessary steps for the development of the technology and a vibrant ecosystem.