Open RAN is a key development for mobile networks, including 5G, as it increases the potential for innovation at the network service level, supply chain diversity, competition and enhanced security, while also facilitating rural connectivity by reducing deployment costs.
Open RAN developments and standards have attracted a dynamic ecosystem that will enhance innovation, open up new markets, while aiming not to compromise the performance of 5G networks.
Open RAN is not just a network architecture but a critical development with geopolitical and digital leadership implications. While the US and Japanese governments and companies are strongly pushing for the development of Open RAN and its adoption, the EU has not yet identified Open RAN as a strategic priority. It is important to consider; what steps can the EU take to secure a vibrant European Open RAN ecosystem and its plausible social and economic benefits? Will new European Open RAN players emerge and be able to compete with US and Asian software and hardware powerhouses?
It is the time now for Europe to take a strategic decision to ensure that it does not lose its competitive edge and tech sovereignty in cellular connectivity. The latter is crucial for all sectors of the economy and requires a strong commitment with the adoption and the development of a strong European Open RAN ecosystem. The use of Recovery and Resiliency Funds, the advancement of an Important Project of Common European Interest on Open RAN, and the use of Horizon Europe resources within the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking should first and foremost be used to accelerate 5G deployments, and to ensure Europe’s competitive edge in 6G. However, they also provide a timely opportunity for Europe to develop its own capabilities in an Open RAN ecosystem environment.
Pilar del Castillo MEP and EIF Chair
Pearse O'Donohue, Director for the Future Networks Directorate, DG CONNECT, European Commission
Nishant Batra, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Nokia
Luis Jorge Romero, Director General, ETSI
Michele Gamberini, Chief Innovation and Information Officer, TIM
Maria Rosa Gibellini, Director General, European Internet Forum
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