During a panel discussion at 5G Asia, Mavenir SVP John Baker recalled seeing a slide from an earlier presentation that essentially called out Ericsson and Nokia as the network infrastructure vendors. “If that’s [the]view of the supplier ecosystem, then I think we’ve got a lot of education to do in the industry. Operators are struggling with profitability, they’re struggling with network architectures that are very hierarchical and now is the time to introduce change. And that includes broadening the supplier ecosystem. As an industry, we’ve really stepped back. We’ve allowed closed systems to be developed.”

So how do we open up those systems? Well, it takes a village, so to speak. Industry-wide collaboration around open-source software for network functions virtualization and cohesion around moving that open approach out of the core to the RAN, where the bulk of capex is directed, is imperative. To borrow from Ubuntu philosophy, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” As it relates to 5G, the industry needs to plus that up and get together to far fast.

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