Ericsson, Telefónica ink memorandum of understanding for Open RAN cloud evolution

Ericsson and Telefónica have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to accelerate the adoption towards an increasingly open network built on Ericsson’s Cloud RAN (radio access network) architecture.

Ericsson Cloud RAN is based on an open, standardised architecture for worldwide connectivity, and is fully compatible with the deployed Ericsson Radio System portfolio, which is designed to help service providers to evolve their networks into their architecture of choice. The companies also believe that Ericsson Cloud RAN offers major opportunities for communications service providers to build macro networks as well as expand into enterprise applications.

Using the operator’s existing 5G infrastructure as a foundation, the collaboration will accelerate RAN evolution as both companies agree to jointly test, deploy and evolve Cloud RAN technology with trial deployments in Europe.

Telefónica and Ericsson said they will also explore how to deploy Cloud RAN sites with a high degree of automation, adopting approaches in line with best practice in cloud ecosystems. This includes using rApps in RAN Intelligent Controller, and service management and orchestration architecture to enhance RAN services.

“We are excited to join forces with Ericsson,” said Telefónica Global’s chief technology innovation officer, Enrique Blanco. “This collaboration brings together the best of both organisations, enabling us to leverage the latest advancements in virtualisation and cloud technologies. The network’s transition to software-based operations and the evolution to open and disaggregated network architectures will increase flexibility, enable new network architectures and models, and boost innovation.”

“This collaboration with Telefónica aims to accelerate the development and deployment of cloud-native open networks,” said Ericsson executive vice-president and head of networks Fredrik Jejdling.

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“This will enable an open ecosystem of innovation and the way we think about the value of networks by exposing new capabilities through standardised APIs. The latest development in [RAN operators’ alliance O-RAN] allows us to build high-performance networks on Open RAN standards, at scale.”

As the Open RAN deal was being made with Ericsson, Telefónica also announced that its Movistar subsidiary was expanding its 5G services in the Castilla y León region of Spain with more than 100 new connections.

Using services based on the 700 MHz communications band, Movistar is present in all the provinces of the region located to the north-west of Madrid, in towns of very different sizes, from the largest, with more than 20,000 inhabitants, to those with less than 50. In all, Telefónica has invested more than €430m in new networks in Castilla y León over the past five years.

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