Mavenir, Samsung make Open RAN advances

Ray Le Maistre
By Ray Le Maistre

Apr 25, 2022

  • Mavenir opens German ‘Centre of Excellence’ facility
  • Germany is a hotbed of Open RAN developments
  • It is the vendor’s fourth such facility in Europe
  • Samsung has taken on a key role at the O-RAN Alliance

Mavenir and Samsung, both of which are already playing key roles in the Open RAN plans of multiple network operators, have announced important advances in their efforts to stay at the forefront of disaggregated mobile network system developments.

Mavenir has announced an Open RAN Centre of Excellence in Bonn, Germany, with “satellite teams” in Munich and Düsseldorf. While the vendor says the facilities and personnel will “support European Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) with Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) engineering, planning, design, system integration and deployment,” they are located in key locations that will strengthen the vendor’s ties with Germany’s main network operators, all of which are Open RAN advocates.

Deutsche Telekom is edging its way into the next generation of infrastructure technology via its O-RAN Towndeployment in Neubrandenburg (a town of about 65,000 residents north of Berlin), in project in which Mavenir is already involved

Telefónica Deutschland has also been working on its Open RAN plans for several years, claiming in late 2020 to be the first operator in the country to have “open RAN in live operation.” More recently it deployed Open RAN-enabled small cells in Munich.

(See Telefónica Germany begins Open RAN deployment, teams with NEC.)

Vodafone Deutschland, meanwhile, is the operator at the heart of an Open RAN city trial in Plauen with Nokia and Mavenir as the main vendor partners. 

In addition, all three major operators are members of the European Open RAN MoU that is aiming to stimulate and develop developments across Europe and are collaborating at an open lab dubbed i14y, that aims to accelerate the development of Open RAN and other disaggregated network architectures. (See Euro telco giants unveil Open RAN labs in Germany and France.)

Some of this (in particular the operator trials and labs) are being helped with funds from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), which has earmarked €300 million for Open RAN developments in the country.

And that’s not all that’s happening in Germany: The three main operators will soon have a new rival in the form of 1&1 Mobilfunk, which is building a greenfield Open RAN-based 5G network with a lot of help from Rakuten Symphony. Mavenir might struggle to work its way into that multi-billion euros project, however, as Altiostar, one of its main rivals in the RAN software sector, is part of the Rakuten family. 


The German Centre of Excellence in Germany is not Mavenir’s first: It has already established similar facilities in the UK, Sweden and the Czech Republic.


Samsung, meanwhile, is now an official member of the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) for the O-RAN open source project, the top decision-making body of the O-RAN Software Community (SC) within the O-RAN Alliance. The Committee has only 12 members, of which only six are from the vendor community, so it’s an important role within the Open RAN development community.


“As a member of the TOC, Samsung is set to play a role in the final approval of the bi-annual open source code release, the establishment of a development roadmap, and in making decisions necessary to ensure alignment with the O-RAN Alliance,” the vendor noted in this announcement.  


The vendor, which says it has been developing open source code for RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) elements during the past couple of years, says it plans to “continue strengthening its advanced research in Network AI (Artificial Intelligence)/ML (Machine Learning) based on O-RAN technology as it expands its influence in other related industries.” 


JinGuk Jeong, Vice President and Head of Advanced Solutions Team at Samsung Research‘s Advanced Communications Research Centre, is the company’s representative to the TOC. 


Samsung is enjoying growing success with its virtual RAN (vRAN) technology, with Verizon as its primary customer, and is already working closely with Vodafone on its Open RAN rollouts, is working with KDDI in Japan and is engaged with Orange on its efforts


- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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