Ericsson has signed on to be a member of the O-RAN Alliance, a group formed by operators that is focused on next-gen open and intelligent radio access network (RAN) architecture.
The initiative was first announced in February 2018 by founding members AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT Domoco and Orange. The O-RAN Alliance combined and expanded efforts of the xRAN Forum and C-RAN Alliance. The group now has 19 operator members, including Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.
Initially only open to service providers, the O-RAN Alliance started allowing non-operators to join at the end of 2018. Since then, major industry players have been added to the group, including Qualcomm, Nokia, Samsung and Intel.
Ericsson said as a member its efforts will center on open interworking between RAN and network orchestration and automation. Specifically, the Swedish telecom equipment giant plans to focus on AI-powered closed-loop automation and end-to-end optimization, to enhance user performance and reduce operating costs.
Ericsson said it will also help speed up global 5G network deployments by providing interoperable multivendor profiles for 3GPP specified interfaces between central RAN functions.
“Our ambition is to actively support and drive discussions and developments around future RAN architectures and open interfaces,” said Erik Ekudden, SVP and CTO of Ericsson, in a statement. “The O-RAN Alliance is an important coalition that creates an arena for these discussions, complementing other standardization and open-source initiatives in the industry which we are already active in.”
Ericsson has decided to participate in the O-RAN Alliance because of mobile operators’ future needs and the need for network evolution in order to handle a broad variety of services, according to the company’s announcement.