One of the O-RAN principles stipulates open disaggregation, allowing elements of the RAN to be sourced from different suppliers
The U.K. government announced a set of principles for the development and deployment of Open RAN (O-RAN) equipment.
In a statement, the government noted that there is a need for clarity on the design characteristics of O-RAN, such as the adoption of standards and demonstration of interoperability between components. These O-RAN principles clear up this ambiguity to ensure it delivers on its promise of resilient and secure networks for 5G and beyond, and innovative and competitive supply chains for the long-run, the government said.
It added that the principles will help ensure any future investment in O-RAN R&D is well targeted to give the taxpayer the best value for money, and provide a guide to industry to ensure the O-RAN tech being developed and deployed in the UK will work in the interests of British citizens and business.
The four principles outlined in the publication are:
-Open disaggregation, allowing elements of the RAN to be sourced from different suppliers.
-Standards-based compliance, allowing all suppliers to test solutions against standards in an open, neutral environment.
-Demonstrated interoperability, ensuring disaggregated elements work together as a fully functional system.
-Implementation neutrality, allowing suppliers to innovate and differentiate on the features and performance of their products.
The government said that the U.K. is becoming one of the best places in the world to invest in O-RAN technologies, noting that the £250 million 5G Diversification Strategy, published November 2020, sets out where the government will remove barriers for new vendors, invest in open technologies like O-RAN and work with like-minded countries to achieve the shared aim for secure and resilient telecoms supply chains.
Minister for Digital Infrastructure Julia Lopez said: “With so much momentum behind O-RAN, now is the right time to set these principles so industry and governments can take a common approach to developing and deploying this technology, so it delivers on its promise to disrupt the market and spark a wave of innovation and competition in telecoms.
“O-RAN promises to make our networks more resilient and futureproof, but this market change must be managed carefully to deliver on that promise whilst maintaining security and performance levels. These Principles set a clear direction of travel for the industry to build secure and resilient networks for 5G and beyond,” said Ian Levy, Technical Director at the National Cyber Security Center.
Meanwhile, Scott Petty, chief digital and IT officer at Vodafone, said: “Vodafone is taking a leading role in the development and rollout of O-RAN, which will be a central part of our long-term network evolution and resilience. We welcome the government’s continued commitment to this innovative and exciting technology and look forward to accelerating the adoption of O-RAN across the wider telecoms ecosystem.”
In December 2021 the U.K. government had announced a joint ambition made with U.K. mobile network operators for 35% of mobile network traffic to pass through O-RAN by the end of the decade.