Italian operator TIM joined an initiative recently announced by European carriers Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone Group to promote Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) technology for the implementation of next-generation mobile networks, the telco said in a release.
In January, the four carriers had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in which they expressed their individual commitment to the implementation and deployment of Open RAN solutions.
Telecom Italia said it would join its peers in promoting the O-RAN technology, while making an individual commitment to use open virtualized architecture and enable flexible, agile communication systems to help spread digital services over 5G.
TIM noted that the development of O-RAN solutions will enable operators to further strengthen security standards, improve network performance and optimize costs with the aim of providing increasingly advanced digital services, such as those related to new solutions for Industry 4.0.
TIM CTIO Michele Gamberini said the telco’s commitment to help develop the Open RAN ecosystem “represents a solid opportunity to ensure our country plays a leading role as a provider of technologies for the digital transformation on a European scale.”
“By signing up to the MoU with the operators, TIM is reinforcing its commitment to contribute to the development of Open RAN technology in Europe,” he said.
In traditional RAN, the networks are deployed using fully-integrated cell sites, where the radios, hardware and software are provided by a single supplier as a closed proprietary solution. With Open RAN the industry is working towards standards and technical specifications that define open interfaces within the radio system, including hardware and software, so that networks can be deployed and operated based on mix-and-match components from different suppliers.
The initial members of this initiative had recently stated that they believe that the European Commission and the national governments have an important role to play to foster and develop the Open RAN ecosystem by funding early deployments, research and development, open test lab facilities and incentivizing supply chain diversity by lowering barriers to entry for small suppliers and startups who can avail of these labs to validate open and interoperable solutions.
“Through our open labs and community activities, we facilitate smaller players to enter the market with their solutions. To build on this foundational work, we urge government support and funding for community activities that will strengthen the European ecosystem and leadership in 5G,” Claudia Nemat, CTO of Deutsche Telekom said recently.
Vodafone Group Chief Technology Officer Johan Wibergh said that the carriers expect to open R&D labs for new, smaller suppliers to develop their products. “But to do this we need a supportive investment environment and political backing, and we urge European governments to join us in creating the Open RAN ecosystem.”
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