Deutsche Telekom has coordinated two new industry groups focusing on open radio access network architecture and network slicing.
AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO and Orange have joined Deutsche Telekom as founder members of the ORAN Alliance, which will combine the efforts of the existing C-RAN Alliance and X-RAN Forum.
The group's aims include aiding the industry's shift towards open, interoperable interfaces and a virtualised RAN, increasing the use of off-the-shelf hardware and reducing the use of propietary products, pushing open source where possible and specifying new kinds of APIs and interfaces.
Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Research & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom, said: “For 5G to unlock new business opportunities and markets, it is essential that we evolve a RAN infrastructure platform that allows us to innovate quickly to meet customer expectations.
"The ORAN approach, to drive more openness, modularity and programmability in our future networks, can enable a more agile delivery of services to our customers."
A separate alliance, the 5G Network Slicing Association, comprises China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Digital Domain, Fraunhofer FOKUS, GE, Huawei, CEPRI of SGCC, Tencent, TIM and Volkswagen.
The members will explore how network slicing can be used across a range of different verticals and enable more flexible and appropriate networks for enterprises.
The association will develop a cross-industry understanding of the requirements for network slicing, define use cases across a range of different industries, work with other standards agencies and share findings, as well as conduct field trials.
Deutsche Telekom said the association would work closely with the GSMA Network Slicing Taskforce.
Antje Williams, Chair of Slicing Association and Executive Program Manager 5G of Deutsche Telekom, said: “Crucial for our success as a telecommunication operator is to understand the needs of our industry customers and provide smart network solutions that are tailored to their business needs.
"The launch of this initiative opens up a new phase of global cooperation between operators and vertical industries in the 5G application field.”
Enrico Bagnasco, Head of Technology Innovation Department at TIM, added: “Network slicing is one of the key features of the emerging 5G network and a dramatic opportunity to boost the potential of the technologies being standardised in 3GPP."