Monday, 14 June 2021

TIM doubles down on Open RAN with new dedicated lab

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 08 June 21

The Italian operator’s new facility in Turin will focus on testing Open RAN equipment and services, and has been approved by the O-RAN Alliance

At the start of this year, four European operators – Telefonica, Orange, Vodafone, and Deutsche Telekom – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focussed on the collaborative development of Open RAN technology.  Not long after, Italy’s TIM also signed the MoU and since then has become one of the more active signatories in exploring the new technology…

At the start of this year, four European operators – Telefonica, Orange, Vodafone, and Deutsche Telekom – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focussed on the collaborative development of Open RAN technology. 

Not long after, Italy’s TIM also signed the MoU and since then has become one of the more active signatories in exploring the new technology. Back in April, it became one of the first operators in Italy to begin deploying Open RAN technology on a live network, doing so in the city of Faenza in the Emilia-Romagna region.

Now, the operator has announced the launch of the country’s first dedicated Open RAN laboratory at its innovation laboratories in Turin. The lab, called the Open Test and Integration Centre (OTIC), will be used to test new solutions and will reportedly be a “collaborative, open, impartial and qualified working environment.” 

The lab will test and verify the effectiveness of RAN technology including antennas and radio base stations from various suppliers.

TIM has long been eyeing the potential of Open RAN technology, having first joined the O-RAN alliance back in 2018. However, it was not until the start of the year, with the signing of the MoU, that development appears to have began in earnest.

But TIM is not alone in launching an Open RAN-focussed laboratory. Indeed, the UK is proving somewhat of a hub for Open RAN testing recently, with Vodafone, Mavenir, and Airspan Networks all opening research facilities in the country over the last two months.

Meanwhile, the combined efforts of TIM and the other MoU signatories are beginning to bear fruit, with a complete Technical Priority Document published yesterday outlining the main technical requirements and scenarios that should be considered a priority for Open RAN’s further development. 

 

How will Open RAN technology reshape the telecoms ecosystem in Italy? Find out from the experts at this year's Connected Italy conference 

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