The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has announced that two of its members, Spanish multinational broadband and telecommunications provider, Telefónica, and Vodafone, have each issued a Request for Information (RFI) for OpenRAN solutions. The RFIs will identify vendors of Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment and assess their ability to meet requirements for RAN platforms as established by TIP’s OpenRAN Project Group.
The objective of the OpenRAN Project Group is the development of fully programmable RAN solutions based on General Purpose Processing Platforms (GPPP) and disaggregated software. The project group was formed to harness the benefits that software-driven development can bring to RAN, including greater network flexibility and a faster pace of innovation.
The scope of the RFIs is a RAN platform that could extend operators’ 4G network coverage. Other technologies including 2G and 3G are also included in the RFIs. Following the OpenRAN Project Group’s vision, the RFIs will collect information, allowing Vodafone and Telefónica to evaluate solutions that are aligned with the OpenRAN principles of RAN on GPPP platforms using disaggregated software.
Respondents are invited, through Vodafone and Telefónica’s RFI processes, to submit information related to solutions both current or in development that meet specifications outlined in the RFIs. The results of the RFI process will be presented at the TIP Summit 2018 in London on October 16-17 and identify vendors that meet RFI requirements.
Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone’s Group Head of Networks Strategy and Architecture and a TIP Board member, said: “This is a significant milestone for TIP as well as the entire industry. We arrived at this point through strong industry collaboration via the TIP community, especially in the OpenRAN project group. Now that we have an OpenRAN ecosystem and we have conducted initial technology validations, it is the right moment to deliver specific requirements and ensure focus by providing clarity on what we really need for our deployments. We truly expect this will help align the different open initiatives we have seen flourishing recently.”
David Del Val, Telefónica’s I+D CEO and TIP Board Member, said: “We are committed to the evaluation, development and deployment of OpenRAN. This RFI is a clear step towards commercialisation of these new solutions that will simplify cellular networks deployment and operations, and unleash innovation for a better service to our customers.”
Aaron Bernstein, Facebook’s Connectivity Ecosystem Programs Director and TIP Board Member, said: “It is encouraging to see TIP’s vision of re-imagining the traditional network deployment approach advance due to this effort from Vodafone and Telefónica. This is just one example of how the TIP Community is working together to accelerate industry innovation, showing the importance of open dialogue and collaboration.”