Two months ago, we unveiled plans to deploy Open RAN products across our wireless network – today, we’ve got more news that will help drive that vision forward.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced a new grant to support testing and evaluation of Open RAN hardware and software – a key step toward the federal government’s goal of catalyzing the adoption of interoperable infrastructure in wireless networks here and abroad. Along with Verizon, we’re excited to be a leader in a new and diverse industry consortium that received an award of $42.3 million to advance this important work.
Evaluating how different products integrate with one another is a crucial part of facilitating the more diverse vendor ecosystem that many in the industry and government envision. Operators need to have confidence that different vendors’ products will work together at scale before adding them to their network. And this testing is especially important to us, since it creates an opportunity to build on our work with Ericsson and discuss with a broader group the technical details of building an Open RAN platform that will enable us to incorporate products from alternative vendors in the future.
The best way to assess integration across the industry is to go big – which is why AT&T and Verizon came together to assemble a broad consortium that includes not only other major network operators like Jio and Docomo but also a wide range of vendors. Beyond traditional suppliers like Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, this consortium will include alternative vendors like Fujitsu, Mavenir, Dell Technologies, Intel, Radisys, Rakuten, Red Hat, VMWare by Broadcom, and Wind River Systems – all potential additions to an open and interoperable radio access network.