American telecom supplier Mavenir says it is offering a virtual Radio Access Network alternative to the global mobile network supply oligopoly and is currently contesting a number of tenders and requests for information (RFI) for mobile networks across the APAC region.

Texas-based Mavenir’s virtual RAN platform allows operators to source generic components from multiple suppliers and avoids the lock-in of using an end-to-end mobile platform supplier. “In essence, what you can do is you can have multiple radio suppliers,” Sam Saba, Head of Mavenir’s Asia Pacific division, told CommsDay yesterday. “So at Mavenir, we’re not talking about developing hardware and radios. What we’re doing is we’re developing that software that connects the core to the baseband, to the radio. And what we want to do is to have, effectively, interoperability with multiple radio hardware providers. There are providers of radio hardware in Korea, Taiwan, China, and Japan.”

“With the virtualized RAN we’re taking the baseband unit back and put it in a centralized hub where we can effectively use the same baseband to control a number of different radio units. And instead of using a proprietary interface between the radio and the baseband units, we use a front haul employing Ethernet protocol. Another option is to co-locate the baseband unit together with the packet port,” Saba continued

“This is a completely new horizon now with 5G. Not just for enhanced mobile broadband, which by all means, there are huge benefits for the mobile consumer. But looking at it as a real promise to delivering a huge, what do you call it, like an enabler and a new catalyst for industry digitalization and transformation.” “We need to have, first and foremost, an open plain with both software and hardware. But also we need more suppliers, particularly for the enterprise. That they’re able to, let’s say, pick and choose between the different players.”

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