NEC has announced that it plans to establish an Open RAN laboratory in India, as a complement to its Center of Excellence (CoE) in the United Kingdom, news that comes hot on the heels of recent announcements from India’s largest mobile network operator, Jio.
Mukesh Ambani, Jio’s chairman, stated in a keynote at the beginning of December that the company plans to roll out 5G to its customers in 2021. Jio has more than 400 million customers, which it says is the only telco outside of China to have such a significant customer base, and it said that it “will pioneer the 5G revolution in India in the second half of 2021”.
India’s adoption of 5G will be one of the biggest telco stories of 2021, and NEC’s new facility will aim to accelerate the development of NEC’s 5G open ecosystem by pre-integrating partner Open RAN components, to form end-to-end commercial-ready products.
“We are confident that our firm partnerships with the industry’s best talents will enable us to advance the development of cutting-edge carrier grade ecosystems at full throttle,” said Kazuhiko Harasaki, deputy general manager, service provider solutions division at NEC Corporation. “NEC will take leadership in curating pre-validated models and facilitating commercial, multi-vendor Open RAN deployment as a viable alternative 5G network for operators.”
End to end validation
Products will undergo end-to-end practical validations and quality assurance throughout all layers of the RAN, from network and cloud to service layers.
”Altiostar is excited to work with NEC on the CoE lab to promote and demonstrate the significance of Open RAN as operators transition their networks to 5G,” said Pierre Kahhale, vice president of field operations at Altiostar. “We have a strong and growing relationship with NEC, dating to our collaboration on the first cloud-native network at scale in Japan, and continuing with current trials and operator deployment plans across the globe.”
The lab will also be responsible for post deployment trouble-shooting, and life cycle management. With NEC saying that it is committed to developing highly reliable, high quality end-to-end solutions.
“As one of the leaders in the Open RAN ecosystem, NEC has shown its capabilities in integrating end-to-end O-RAN solutions. NEC’s CoE provides the market a great way to demonstrate O-RAN, using components from different suppliers that conform with the O-RAN specifications,” said Allen Yen, Chairman and CEO of MTI. “MTI is excited to be one of the initial partners of NEC’s CoE lab, and will continue to supply O-RAN compliant radio units to the market.”
NEC aims to maximize the value of its open ecosystem by working with partners including Altiostar, GigaTera and MTI, as NEC plans to accelerate operators’ commercial adoption of Open RAN.