Deutsche Telekom preps commercial Open RAN rollouts

  • Deutsche Telekom cements its commitment to Open RAN with plans for commercial brownfield deployments
  • One rollout will provide services in the same town as DT performed its O-RAN Town trials
  • DT customers in Neubrandenburg will get 2G, 4G and 5G services
  • Fujitsu, Mavenir and Nokia are on the vendor roster

BARCELONA – #MWC23 – Only days after publishing a whitepaper that detailed the lessons learned from its challenging O-RAN Town trials in Neubrandenburg, a town of about 65,000 residents north of Berlin, Deutsche Telekom has announced it will work with Nokia, Fujitsu and Mavenir, among others, for “initial commercial deployments across its European footprint.”

One of the rollouts will be in Neubrandenburg, where Nokia and Fujitsu will partner with the German operator to deliver 2G, 4G and 5G services from a “brownfield” network deployment, though the scale of the rollout has not been shared. Nokia will deliver the baseband units, while the O-RAN-compliant radio units will be provided by Nokia and Fujitsu.

It’s worth noting that when the O-RAN Town trials were first mentioned, Dell, Fujitsu, Intel, Mavenir, NEC and Supermicro were all named as technology partners for them, so it would appear that (so far at least) Fujitsu and Mavenir must have performed reasonably well to make it from the trial to the commercial rollout stage. 

For Mavenir, though, its initial role in the commercial rollouts appears to be outside Germany, as it “has been chosen as [the] partner for an initial multi-vendor deployment in DT’s European footprint” starting this year. Mavenir will provide the baseband software for the 4G and 5G distributed units and central units, including for the open fronthaul-based mMIMO radio units. Other partners will be announced later.

“Open RAN is critical to Deutsche Telekom’s strategy to foster greater vendor diversity and accelerate customer-focused innovation in the radio access network,” noted Claudia Nemat, board member for technology and innovation at the operator, who late last year described the outcome of the O-RAN Town trials as “disappointing”.

But developments have moved on apace. 

“Open RAN has matured over the last months in both stability and performance, which has given us the confidence for an initial commercial deployment,” stated Abdu Mudesir, Deutsche Telekom group CTO and CTO for Germany. “Together with Nokia, Mavenir and other ecosystem partners, we will use our collaboration as the springboard to accelerate Open RAN development and create a path to deployment at scale,” he added. 

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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