Telefónica and IBM have worked together to deploy a proof-of-concept on open RAN, covering 81,000 people in the city of Puerto Madryn, Argentina. The deployment involved components and systems from multiple software and hardware vendors, including Altiostar, Red Hat, Gigatera and Kontron. Meanwhile, Ericsson has opened a new lab in Canada to collaborate with customers and partners on RAN innovations, such as open RAN.
Although the commercialisation of open RAN is still in its early stages, there is a clear commitment from a broad set of stakeholders to accelerate the adoption of the technology, as highlighted in GSMA Intelligence’s Open RAN: five defining themes for 2021 report . Telefónica has made one of the biggest commitments to open RAN to date; it aims for the technology to account for up to 50% of its 4G and 5G RAN growth between 2022 and 2025. Deployments such as the one in Argentina represent an opportunity to test the concept and prove it works before moving to larger deployments. Meanwhile, IBM’s involvement highlights the importance of systems integration in open networks, which encompass a multitude of hardware and software companies.