Monday, 14 June 2021

European Open RAN MoU bears fruit with Technical Priority Document

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 07 June 21

The ‘Open RAN Technical Priorities Document’ contains a list of technical requirements and main scenarios that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signatories deem a priority for the tech’s development

Around six months ago, four of Europe’s largest operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Orange, and Telefonica – signed a MoU agreeing to jointly develop Open RAN technology. Not to be left out, Italy’s TIM joined shortly afterwards. The move was hailed a significant milestone for Open RAN, with the signatories aiming to produce a summary of technical requirements within three months…

Around six months ago, four of Europe’s largest operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Orange, and Telefonica – signed a MoU agreeing to jointly develop Open RAN technology. Not to be left out, Italy’s TIM joined shortly afterwards.

The move was hailed a significant milestone for Open RAN, with the signatories aiming to produce a summary of technical requirements within three months, and an action plan within six.

Last month, the five partners released an Executive Summary of the Open RAN Technical Priorities Document, which gave a high level description of the MoU signatories’ requirements on Open RAN, including the goal of seeing Open RAN solutions in large scale network rollout scenarios by 2022.

Today, the technical document has been published in full.

“When you think about turning Open RAN standards into commercial realities, it is clear that we need to avoid fragmentation,” said Yago Tenorio, Chairman of TIP’s Board of Directors. “This Open RAN Technical Priorities Document will enable a diverse set of suppliers to develop products more effectively, thereby increasing resilience and providing operators with what they need to build their networks based on a minimum set of variants that address the same needs in different regions, and simplifying significantly the subsequent system integration. Organisations like TIP and the O-RAN Alliance have an instrumental role to play in this process” 

Interestingly, one of the elements to feature prominently in the document is the use of RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) technology, which provides advanced control functionality and can therefore deliver increased efficiency and better radio resource management. In fact, just last week saw Vodafone demonstrate a 5G RIC solution in action at a multi-vendor Open RAN test site, which allowed for up to double the capacity achieved using traditional MIMO.

Of course, all of these operators are supporting Open RAN technology trials in some form or other. However, only TIM has a live Open RAN network, announcing the deployment in Faenza at the end of April. 

Ultimately, while this Technical Priorities document contains no real surprises, it is nontheless a crucial step towards creating a more unified, standardised Open RAN ecosystem. We expect to see the five signatories follow up this development with some form of action plan in the coming months. 

 
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