The O-Ran Opportunity – For A Faster And Innovation-Led Way Forward For 5g In India

With the accelerated deployment of 5G infrastructure, Open Radio Access Network (also known as Open RAN or O-RAN) is becoming increasingly critical for telecom service providers. This Next Gen RAN could enable them to diversify supply chains, bringing in unprecedented levels of interoperability and agility, which can help reduce capex by almost 50%.

The fourth episode of ‘The 5G Opportunity’, a special series presented by CNBC-TV18 and Qualcomm, featured AK Tiwari, Member (Technology), Digital Communications Commission, DoT, sharing his views on the opportunities for Indian software equipment makers and system integrators to capture a piece of the growing 5G market.

He explained that Open RAN will be a game-changer for mobile communications in India, as Open RAN architecture will result in lower total cost of ownership of RAN networks by breaking proprietary interface in RAN. It will also widen the choices as there will be several offerings from even small companies.

The cost of infrastructure is an important factor in rolling out 5G networks, especially on account of the massive scale of this endeavor. O-RAN network architecture allows operators to support multiple radios and also reduces the overall hardware cost.

AK Tiwari highlighted some of the challenges, such as carrier-grade scalability and system integration complexity, adding, “I am updated that these issues are being addressed at a fast pace. Several Indian companies are working on Open RAN products and a number of Indian industry members are part of global Open RAN alliances. ”

The second half of the event delved into the benefits and opportunities that O-RAN could deliver for India. It featured a discussion between an esteemed panel of guests – Durga Malladi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cellular Modems and Infrastructure, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc .; Tareq Amin, CEO, Rakuten Symphony; Ankit Agarwal, Managing Director, STL and Pradeep Kohli, President & CEO, Mavenir.

They began by discussing the need for telecom players to look beyond traditional RAN, to achieve seamless scaling up and down and disaggregation, and went on to explain the outdoor and indoor capabilities and benefits.

Qualcomm, which has been vocal about its vision for O-RAN, has introduced a product portfolio to offer components that will assist the rest of the ecosystem in putting together the complete solution.

The panelists also touched on how O-RAN will change the fortunes of the telecom industry and foster innovation essential to 5G deployment. The biggest challenge they envisaged was finding the right mind-sets and skillsets.

They concluded that O-RAN defines the way forward for 5G and India’s future with this technology looks bright, given the country’s software capabilities, which can be leveraged in the era of open and virtualized mobile infrastructure.

This is a partnered post.

First Published: IST

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