The UK Government has announced an update to its plans for accelerating the deployment of open RAN networks in the country. This includes increased funding for open RAN projects and new targets for operators to run 35% of the UK’s mobile network traffic over open RAN by 2030. Meanwhile, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is reportedly working with local operators to trial open RAN in Tokyo. NTT Docomo and NEC also recently completed interoperability testing for 5G standalone using a baseband unit conforming to open RAN specifications.
Mobile infrastructure is a competitive differentiator; each operator will make its own network design and configuration choices to align with its business strategies. However, as the GSMA outlines in Open and Virtualised Radio Access Networks: An Explanatory Guide for Policymakers, policy has a role to play in RAN evolution, creating an enabling environment that will support the deployment of new infrastructure. Policymakers can support the transition to open RAN by launching testbeds, funding research and development, providing security assurance and certification, and promoting and recognising specifications that enable interoperability.