Mavenir, a US-based Open-RAN or ‘open radio access network’ provider, has said prevailing confusion in the non-proprietary radio access network industry has prompted it to dismiss Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson as serious players in the ORAN market, a top company executive said.
“We don’t view Ericsson and Nokia as doing real Open RAN, it’s mostly lip service on their part… so we (have) started to rule them out,” Bejoy Pankajakshan, executive vice president & chief technology and strategy officer at Mavenir, told ET.
The top Mavenir executive, though, said South Korea’s Samsung “appeared to be at least trying to grab mindshare to capture the Open RAN market”.
Pankajakshan’s comments come on the heels of alleged exorbitant pricing by Nokia and Ericsson in the wake of locked radio interface, following which Mavenir had last month sought the intervention of US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
He added that “there is much confusion in the market” as vendors, especially the competition, are trying to undermine the definition of Open RAN in different ways.
“We stressed about opening up the brownfield X2 interface, making sure that we could mix and match, trying to avoid the confusion that’s been purposefully created by the competition,” the Mavenir executive said.
“In the case of X2, it’s a third generation partnership project (3GPP)—defined interface and is supposed to be open,” Pankajakshan said.
Unlike the two dominant hardware players, Mavenir said that telcos could actually test and verify its Open RAN-based solution from third-parties.
Queries to Nokia and Ericsson did not elicit any response.
The ORAN company also said that two close rivals—Altiostar and Parallel Wireless—had bottlenecks as the latter is predominant in 2G and 3G wireless, while Rakuten’s recent acquisition of Altiostar resulted in the former shifting to a custom-made portfolio.
“We have been investing in the space for the last six years to be successful in Open RAN,” Pankajakshan said, adding that Mavenir has deployments with more than 250 operators worldwide.
“We carry more than 80% of the world’s messaging, we have more than 300 million subscribers, billions of users on our system, which means they are very familiar with Mavenir as a software company,” the executive added.
Lately, the non-proprietary-based radio network approach is taking traction in India.
Last year, Bharti Airtel partnered with Mavenir to conduct Open RAN-based 5G field trials in the millimeter wave (mmWave) and mid-bands, following its year-old association with Altiostar for the deployment of open virtual radio access network (vRAN). In 2020, Vodafone Idea (Vi) too had teamed up with Mavenir.
Last year, Mavenir received a $500 million investment that it plans to spend on R&D-related work to boost its 5G portfolio.