Qualcomm drafts in Mavenir to aid its push into Open RAN

Nick Wood
By Nick Wood

Jun 24, 2021

  • Partnership covers joint development of indoor and outdoor radio gear
  • Products will be pitched at both public and private network deployments
  • Manx Telecom to deploy Mavenir's virtualised IMS, cloud-native packet core

Qualcomm has designs on the Open RAN market, and to that end it has struck a partnership with cloud networking software specialist Mavenir to co-develop a range of new radio products.

The agreement will see Mavenir's ip.access unit develop Open RAN split 2 compliant software that integrates with Qualcomm's 4G and 5G RAN platforms. Mavenir has also agreed to optimise its software to support various Qualcomm-powered products made by third-party small cell manufacturers.

Together, the companies aim to offer a range of Open RAN radio equipment suited to both indoor and outdoor deployments, that will appeal not just to operators rolling out public networks, but also private deployments by enterprises.

"We are excited about this collaboration with an Open RAN industry leader like Mavenir as it will help drive open and virtualised 5G RAN proliferation globally in places like airports, stadiums, and hospitals," said Gerardo Giaretta, senior director of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement.

The partnership is more evidence of Qualcomm's effort to establish itself as the chipmaker of choice for the Open RAN ecosystem, which requires standard, off-the-shelf components that can match the power and performance of those used by the traditional RAN vendors.

"Mavenir's role in growing the ecosystem has been to ensure that the market demand is being addressed with a range of radio options to fit all deployments and use cases," said Mavenir's Aniruddho Basu, SVP and GM of emerging business. "Mavenir's containerised Open RAN, AI analytics and automation software, coupled with Qualcomm Technologies' powerful 4G and 5G access point platforms aim to create an extensive range of high performance, cost-effective radio solutions for multiple segments and applications with full architectural flexibility."

The Qualcomm partnership is not the only bit of Open RAN news coming from Mavenir today. One of its operator customers, Isle of Man-based Manx Telecom, intends to use Mavenir's MAVair vRAN platform for its upcoming Open RAN trial.

It is part of a broader deal that will also see Manx Telecom deploy Mavenir's cloud-native EPC and virtualised IMS at its on-island operation, as well as its business services division, OV.

"Manx Telecom has chosen Mavenir to deliver a highly innovative solution based on open standards with simple architecture, and providing what we really need – cost effectiveness and more flexibility leading to smoother network operations," noted Sutha Siva, Manx Telecom's COO.

It's been a busy week so far for Mavenir. Today's announcements come just two days after it showed off a reference design for a cloud-native, 5G user plane function (UPF) to support multi-access edge computing (MEC). Developed in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom and MobiledgeX, it enables the deployment of mobile data gateways at the edge – in various networking environments – helping to lower latency and support new, edge-based services. (See Mavenir and MobiledgeX enable global edge connectivity with Deutsche Telekom.)

With hype and excitement around cloud-native and Open RAN coming from all quarters, Mavenir is working hard to make itself heard.

- Nick Wood, reporting for TelecomTV

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