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Nokia “fully committed” to O-RAN as Huawei faces growing 5G scrutiny

Nokia Airscale O-RAN.
(Image credit: Nokia)

 Following the recent news that Nokia had released its next-generation 5G AirScale Cloud RAN solution based on vRAN2.0, which will be commercially available in 2020, the company has said that it is enhancing its industry leadership in open solutions by “rapidly ramping up” the adoption of Open RAN (O-RAN) interfaces in its AirScale portfolio. 

In a statement issued today Nokia said that it was the “only global RAN provider” to commit to O-RAN, and said it would accelerate investment in O-RAN, which would provide “regulators and political decision makers with greater assurance that they can embrace openness to secure their telecom supply chain, without concerns about the competitiveness and/or security of their 5G infrastructure.”

"Nokia is committed to leading the open mobile future by investing in Open RAN and Cloud RAN solutions with the aim of enabling a robust telecom ecosystem with strong network performance and security."

Tommi Uitto, Nokia.

“Nokia is committed to leading the open mobile future by investing in Open RAN and Cloud RAN solutions with the aim of enabling a robust telecom ecosystem with strong network performance and security,” explained Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “Nokia’s Cloud RAN solution leads the market and is continuing to evolve to a cloud-native architecture. We have the scale and capabilities to address the increased customer demand for this technology, underpinned by the world-class network performance and security that only Nokia can deliver.”

Growing pressure on Huawei

This announcement comes in the same week that the UK government is expected to announce Huawei’s complete removal from the UK’s 5G infrastructure, and appears to be a clear reference to China’s involvement in critical networking infrastructure.

According to reports in the Guardian, the UK is set to make a U-turn on its decision to allow Huawei to supply equipment, up to a 35% cap, to non-core elements of the UK’s 5G infrastructure. The move comes in the light of increasing pressure from the US to match its sanctions against the Chinese tech giant. And speaking to a special defence select committee scrutinising Huawei, Oliver Dowden, the government’s culture secretary, told members that the recommendations of an emergency review would likely result in a change in policy.

“Given that those sanctions are targeted at 5G and [are] extensive, it is likely to have an impact on the viability of Huawei as a provider for the 5G network,” the cabinet minister told MPs on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Financial Times, John Sawers, former head of the MI6 security service, supported the expected ban, and said that whilst the US position on Huawei may be debatable, security concerns were genuine, and  that “UK intelligence services can therefore no longer provide the needed assurances that Chinese-made equipment is still safe to use in the UK’s telecoms network.” 

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.