If you ask abstractly, most operators will say they prefer opening up closed technologies. More participants bring more innovation, more competitive price pressure, what could be bad? Well, more players can mean more complexity, more complicated dependencies, more opportunities for things to go wrong. This can be especially worrying when it comes to complex, business-critical radio access network (RAN) technologies that have been closed and proprietary for years.

So do the benefits of opening the RAN outweigh the risks? The industry is about to find out.

Thanks to Open RAN (ORAN) initiatives and the advent of 5G, multiple vendors can now compete to deliver RAN subcomponents within a single network. Meanwhile, the advancement of virtualized RAN solutions (vRAN) gives operators the much-needed flexibility in how and where they provide RAN functions. Both ORAN and vRAN have enormous potential – especially when combined to support new 5G networks and services. But,…

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