IBM and Airspan Networks target increased European adoption of 5G-enabled Open RAN

IBM and Airspan Networks target increased European adoption of 5G-enabled Open RAN
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IBM has partnered with Airspan Networks in a bid to accelerate the adoption of 5G-enabled Open RAN technologies across Europe.

Open RAN delivers hardware and software that are based on interoperable and open standards—delivering greater choice and lower costs for operators while preventing vendor lock-in and enabling innovative new players to break the market hold of the handful of established players.

One of those emerging players is Florida-based Airspan Networks.

IBM and Airspan Networks are launching a 5G-enabled Open RAN testbed across the IBM Watson IoT Center in Munich, Germany and IBM’s Global Industry Solution Center (GISC) in Nice, France. The facility will showcase long-distance control using 5G-enabled edge computing.

Marisa Viveros, VP of Strategy and Offerings, Telecom, Media and Entertainment Industry at IBM, said:

“Open approaches and standards-based technologies are vital to help unleash the full potential of 5G and edge computing. That’s why, in collaboration with Airspan, we hope to work to advance emerging use cases that harness Open RAN and bring new value to telecom clients.

The planned expansion of the Open RAN testbed will allow us to demonstrate these capabilities as we accelerate 5G and edge computing innovation.”

The main goal of the new testbed is to help the European telecoms industry accelerate the development of multi-vendor solutions to address specific customer needs.

“Through critical collaboration with leaders like IBM and testing in these labs, which could help accelerate the development of Open RAN and 5G solutions and the open architecture ecosystem, we believe Airspan can continue to be at the forefront of innovation and industry disruption through end-to-end Open RAN solutions,” commented Airspan Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Henrik Smith-Petersen.

Airspan will contribute its Open RAN AirVelocity 2700 indoor radio unit and virtualized Open RAN Centralized Unit (vCU) and Distributed Unit (vDU) OpenRANGE software as part of the collaboration.

IBM, for its part, will provide its Global Business Services technology integration services, Cloud Pak for Network Automation, and Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps, to help customers to more efficiently manage and orchestrate their edge cloud implementations and applications.

Earlier this year, Airspan also announced plans to open a 5G Innovation Lab at its offices in Slough, UK. The lab will feature a full end-to-end 5G Open RAN solution and will be used to advance the development of the technology in addition to acting as a showcase and demonstration facility for partners, customers, and government institutions.

The UK has increased its support for Open RAN development following its decision to ban Huawei from national networks, a previously major vendor.

“We’re investing £450 million to explore how 5G can boost the economy while also building confidence and competition in this revolutionary technology,” said Matt Warman, UK Minister for Digital Infrastructure.

“Airspan’s new lab of telecoms innovators will develop cutting-edge 5G networks and help create jobs and a more secure and diverse UK telecoms supply chain.”

(Photo by USGS on Unsplash)

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