This latest initiative is intended to accelerate concensus about the adoption of open, interoperable interfaces and virtualisation of the RAN.
The GSMA and O-RAN Alliance have joined forces to accelerate the adoption of Open RAN products and will jointly “harmonise” the open networking ecosystem and agree on an industry roadmap for network solutions to make access to networks as open and flexible as possible for new market entrants.
There is an expanding ecosystem of agreements and fora around the open RAN movement, which is all about disaggregating RAN components to end the dominance of the big three RAN vendors, Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson. The three have sold highly integrated RAN systems to operators for years.
The disaggregation of components necessitates standardised interfaces to ensure interopability if the aim of opening up the market – increasing competition and reducing costs are the aims – is to succeed, which is where O-RAN comes in.
In February, GSMA signed a collaboration agreement to share service provider requirements with TIP Project Group work streams – Open RAN is part of the TIP initiative which was kick started by Facebook.
Also in February, and the O-RAN Alliance and TIP agreed to work together to develop interoperable open RAN solutions. Open Ran and O-RAN have resisted suggestions they should merge.
May saw the launch of the Open RAN Policy Coalition, designed “to promote policies that will advance the adoption of open and interoperable solutions in the Radio Access Network (RAN) as a means to create innovation, spur competition and expand the supply chain for advanced wireless technologies including 5G”.
GSMA said in a statement about the most recent collaboration with O-RAN, “The goal for these collaborations is to help avoid fragmentation and accelerate the successful evolution of the industry towards a more intelligent, open, virtualised and fully interoperable RAN.
Andre Fuetsch, Chairman of the O-RAN ALLIANCE, and Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, AT&T, commented,”The GSMA collaboration with the O-RAN ALLIANCE is exactly the sort of global effort that’s needed for everyone, operators and vendors alike, to succeed in this new generation.”