Updated February 13th, 2024 at 13:43 IST

US to invest $42 million in open cell networks to prevent Huawei monopoly

The funding, provided by the NTIA will establish a testing center in Dallas dedicated to proving t

Business Desk
Representative | Image:Unsplash
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O-RAN investments in US: The US government has allocated $42 million to advance the development of the 5G Open RAN (O-Radio Access Network) standard, aiming to foster a more competitive market for cellular hardware and software. This move is seen as a strategic response to prevent Huawei from monopolising the global cellular network hardware market.

The funding, provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will establish a testing center in Dallas dedicated to proving the viability of the O-RAN standard. By promoting interoperability and allowing wireless providers to mix and match equipment from various vendors, O-RAN aims to spur innovation and create more cost-effective and flexible network solutions.

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Verizon's global network and technology president, Joe Russo, hailed the funding as a catalyst for "faster innovation in an open environment." To drive the adoption of the O-RAN standard, major players like AT&T and Verizon have formed the Acceleration of Compatibility and Commercialisation for Open RAN Deployments Consortium (ACCoRD), joined by leading technology companies such as Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Dell, Intel, Broadcom, and Rakuten.

The significance of O-RAN extends beyond cost savings and efficiency. It promises faster network deployments and increased agility, enabling companies to build more resilient networks. Japanese wireless carrier Rakuten, an early adopter of O-RAN, underlined the potential for smaller, more cost-effective network build-outs compared to traditional tower-based approaches.

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In the US, Dish is pursuing its own O-RAN network initiative, known as Project Genesis. Despite initial challenges with network reliability, Dish aims to cover 70 per cent of the US population with its 5G network. The push for O-RAN adoption represents a collective effort to challenge Huawei's dominance in the cellular infrastructure market, with Washington viewing O-RAN as a strategic countermeasure.

While the $42 million grant represents a fraction of the broader investment in O-RAN advancement, the establishment of a testing centre marks a critical milestone. It provides a platform for ACCoRD partners to demonstrate the standard's effectiveness and gain support from major industry players worldwide. Recent commitments from companies like Ericsson and AT&T, including a substantial $14 billion contract, underscore the growing momentum behind O-RAN adoption.

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Published February 13th, 2024 at 13:43 IST