Rural carrier deploys containerized Evolved Packet Core with 5G SA upgradability
Mavenir announced Monday a win with the Rural Independent Network Alliance (RINA Wireless). RINA Wireless has chosen its Mavenir’s Evolved Packet Core (EPC) as the basis for its next-generation mobile core architecture. Mavenir says this will give RINA Wireless a path to 5G Standalone (SA) deployment while offering cost-efficient and low-touch 4G LTE functionality for now.
RINA is a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) that operates in the United States. The company provides LTE core hosting and CDMA switching to dozens of rural wireless carriers in 17 states. RINA recently began offering Metaswitch-based IMS Core services for its customers.
“RINA Wireless is deploying Mavenir’s future proof, cloud-native, small footprint containerized Evolved Packet Core (EPC), with a remote redundant User Plane Function (UPF). Mavenir’s solution is fully scalable and deployed on Mavenir’s Webscale Platform which is a highly adaptable and scalable framework to run microservices-based network functions. The solution uses software running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware that provides cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and agility,” said Mavenir in a statement.
Mavenir scored another design win earlier this month when it announced that Telefónica Hispam picked it to provide IMS Core services for its Latin America telco networks. Mavenir says its cloud-native IMS is “purpose-built for fully automated cloud environments.” The cloud-native suite provides zero-touch network automation (ZTNA) and a fully containerized app environment for more effective scaling and agility as Communication Service Providers (CSPs) move to 5G services, according to the company.
The news was announced against the backdrop of the Rural Wireless Infrastructure summit in Park City, Utah, which runs through Wednesday. It comes as billions of dollars of federal money are poised to feed the coffers of rural carriers and telecommunication software and hardware makers. The infusion comes from the $65 billion in federal money earmarked for broadband services improvement throughout the U.S., much of it earmarked specifically for improved rural broadband and connectivity.
Closing the digital divide has been a central message of the Biden administration. The $65 billion in broadband spending will be overseen by the Commerce Department, mostly under the auspices of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The three central tenets of the plan are to fund the expanse of broadband service to make it available and accessible to every American, create low-cost options for service and funding to subsidize the consumer cost. Each state will receive $100 million for broadband programs, and the remaining money will be allocated based on underserved/unserved households in the state.
Mavenir was among the Open RAN vendors chosen by the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Mavenir and other selected vendors are working on developing, support, and interoperability of 5G Open RAN-based systems. The government hopes to ultimately foster plug-and-play Open RAN network capabilities and a broader ecosystem of vendors.
DoD’s challenges typically run multiple years and involve financial prizes. In the first year of the 5G Challenge, contestants can win up to $3 million for their 5G Open RAN subsystems, including Central Units (CUs), Distributed Units (DUs) and Radio Units (RUs). According to NTIA, Capgemini Engineering, Mavenir, Rakuten and Signal System Management will submit CUs; Radisys, Rakuten and Signal System Management will submit DUs; and Mavenir and Fujitsu Network Communications will submit RUs. Submissions must be compliant with 3GPP Release 15 and Open RAN Alliance specifications.