Open RAN Ready for Brownfield Deployments
Open RAN interfaces have become an important part of building 5G mobile networks. And it’s not just the greenfield networks and third-world networks that will benefit. In addition to the greenfield networks that have embraced Open RAN (Rakuten/Dish) Vodafone, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio, Telefonica, MTN, and other operators have also committed to deployment using Open RAN standards to realize cost savings, and future proof their networks, and to add flexibility for vendor mixing (widening the supply chain) . The trials conducted by these major players so far indicate that the technology has reached a level of maturity that is ready for commercial networks. The best example is Rakuten in Japan, who has deployed more than 5,000 ‘radio stations’ so far and has already upgraded its network from 4G to 5G, using a collection of at least 18 vendors providing individual components of the network. Rakuten was able to sign up more than a million subscribers in its first three months. By 2025, we expect that ORAN will save money in multiple market segments, including both high-capacity applications and coverage-limited applications. When that happens, the Open RAN business model will be applied to networks ranging from urban to rural in many mainstream markets. As we apply our cost models to this future scenario, we find that the cost of delivering data will be competitive with (reduced) prices from the top OEMs in the urban case, but cost will be significantly lower in the critical suburban and rural segments. Read Good and Getting Better white paper to learn details on how Open RAN standards will impact almost every 5G network over the next five years .