NEW DELHI: American telecom giant Verizon said its 5G hardware vendors such as Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung will begin supplying open-RAN compliant equipment starting in the latter half of 2021 which it will use to roll out a 5G network in its mmWave and C-band spectrum holdings.
It added that the bulk of equipment shipments to Verizon will comply with open-RAN shipments by early 2022.
“If you’ve got a new company that’s providing phenomenal radio equipment, that’s different from what’s in the market today, when they’re all making O-RAN-compliant equipment and following the specifications of O-RAN, you can choose to bring in some of that best-in-class equipment from maybe a non-traditional partner,” Verizon SVP Adam Koeppe told New York City-based Light Reading. “So that’s really the intent behind having that openness on the radio access network.”
Koeppe added that the move is in line with Verizon’s strategy of adopting virtual RAN, and added that the operator’s vendors have already started supplying baseband which can be run inside Verizon-supplied hardware.
This comes after the telco’s announcement of investing an additional $10 billion over three years to build a 5G network in its C-band spectrum portfolio it recently bought for $53 billion in the spectrum auction.
On Massive MIMO integration within its C-band radios, Koeppe added that Verizon might choose a “more powerful configuration” based on the network traffic instead of opting for a “one-size fits all” approach.
According to industry experts, the new C-band spectrum might require operators to densify their network with additional cell-sites for seamless coverage as signals in the C-band spectrum have low propagation characteristics as compared to signals in the low-band spectrum.
But Koeppe argued that Verizon has already been working to densify its network and it has added spectrum bands including 700MHz and AWS to its 4G network, and a result, the operator’s network is already dense enough to support a C-band network.
At the same time, for the mmWave network, the operator has said it plans to add another 13,000 small cells to its network this year in order to raise its total number of small cells in operation to 30,000.
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