Telefónica and NEC Corporation announced an agreement to undertake pre-commercial Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) tests in Telefonica’s four key worldwide markets: Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and Brazil. This is a step toward Telefonica’s goal of achieving a 50% expansion of their current radio network based on Open RAN by 2025.
According to a joint press release, Telefonica will perform open RAN trials in Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and Brazil, with the objective of offering commercial alternatives to at least 800 locations across the four countries beginning in 2022. Under the terms of the agreement, NEC will serve as the primary system integrator for the implementation and testing of multi-vendor Open RAN solutions with the Telefonica group’s operational businesses.
Telefónica and NEC will also cooperate with the newly formed Telefónica Technology and Automation Lab in Madrid to validate and implement cutting-edge Open RAN technologies and various applications. Among the use cases are those based on AI-powered Radio Intelligent Controllers (RIC) for RAN optimization, service lifecycle automation based on Service Management and Orchestration (SMO), testing and deployment automation in accordance with Telefónica’s Continuous Integration/ Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) framework, and power saving optimizations.
Enrique Blanco, Chief Technology & Information Officer (CTIO) at Telefónica, said: “Open networks are undeniably the key to driving network evolution in the 5G era and to sustaining and fulfilling our mission of consistently delivering superior experiences to our consumer and enterprise customers. Through our long term engagement with NEC, we have firsthand knowledge of their technological and practical competence as well as their constant customer-first approach, and we are confident they are the right partners for this highly strategic initiative.”
“We are extremely honored to be selected as the strategic partner for Telefónica’s game-changing initiative that promises tremendous value and innovation in the long run. NEC and our subsidiary Netcracker’s accumulated expertise among IT and networks is a valuable asset to help keep operators ahead of the curve in co-creating and redesigning the next generation mobile networks required in the 5G era and beyond,” added Shigeru Okuya, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation.