Is Open RAN the future of Telecoms?

As 5G networks are being built globally and its adoption increasing, the challenge that the telecom world is facing today lies within the lack of diversification of the supply chain. The cost of deploying telecommunications infrastructure and the cost of technological advancement remains high with very few alternatives from established vendors especially within RAN.

In the Core Network, especially with 5G where cloud core and edge computing has created new entrants and along with them they bring new innovations. The traditional telco core network now has competition from cloud service providers and new entrants, 5G has levelled the playing field especially in the use of software in developing core network functionalities and no longer left to pure switching alone.

The challenge remains on the RAN, where traditional vendors have strong foothold of the market and where the cost of innovations remain high. With the growing acceptance of O-RAN or Open RAN, the road is paved for smaller entrants and innovators to enter the RAN market, however to do this major investments in technology and innovation is required. The UK DCMS is paving the way to help diversify the telecom supply chain and make the Open RAN promised benefit a reality.

There are several reasons why Open RAN can be the Future RAN, primarily due to its potential to save billions in operator cost that can translate to lower prices to consumers. The savings can be realised from the efficiencies that Open RAN can deliver and the collaborative nature of an open community. This collaborative and open community will also bring along new entrants to the market that can foster innovations and drag the cost of infrastructure down. For countries such as the UK that is actively investing in the creation of a vibrant Open RAN ecosystem, it is leading the way to power the future economy where 70% of GDP growth up to 2030 is driven by connectivity and intelligent systems, that is a £10 trillion business.