Axiata conducts open RAN commercial field pilots in three countries


  • Telcos
  • Monday, 28 Jun 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Telecommunications firm Axiata Group Bhd (Axiata) has conducted Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) commercial field pilots at selected sites in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka as it targets large-scale commercial deployments by year-end.

Group executive vice-president (technology) Thomas Hundt said the commercial pilots were deployed through strategic partnerships with leading global network solutions providers -- Mavenir and Parallel Wireless -- which was supported by Infosys as systems integrator.

Calling Open RAN "the future for mobile networks”, he said it would be critical for 4G expansions as well as the 5G evolution that Axiata’s markets would soon embrace.

"Aligning with our vision to become ‘The Next Generation Digital Champion’, the benefits from open networks will enable Axiata to better serve rising connectivity needs across the region, especially in rural and underserved areas, whilst ensuring sustainable value creation for our stakeholders.

"Together with our partners Mavenir, Parallel Networks and Infosys, and in line with the global connectivity push under the Telecom Infrastructure Project, Axiata is committed towards embracing fully automated infrastructure to boost the open networks ecosystem in Asia,” he said in a statement today.

Hundt said Axiata’s successful trials in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia proved that Open RAN solutions enabled greater operational and cost efficiencies using advanced technologies while also meeting the needs of its digital inclusion efforts across the region.

"We look forward to taking the next step towards commercialisation in our pursuit of catalysing game-changing advancements across emerging Asia,” he added.

Under the strategic partnership with Mavenir, he said, Axiata had deployed the MAVair Open vRAN solution, including all G Open RAN, Packet Core and Mobile Network applications, at selected sites in the three countries.

To simulate non-ideal backhaul conditions, especially for rural areas, the sites selected are connected with non-ideal backhaul (microwave links), and in some cases satellite, making this the first satellite backhaul powered Open vRAN sites in the world.

During the testing phase, Axiata was also able to achieve the first live commercial service integration of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP)’s Evenstar 4G Radio through Mavenir’s MAVair O-RAN based solution for Open RAN.

Hundt said through its partnership with Parallel Wireless, the US-based Open RAN company delivering all G, cloud-native Open RAN solutions, Axiata had successfully demonstrated commercial deployment of 2G and 4G Open RAN connectivity within its network in Sri Lanka, which is operated by Dialog Axiata.

Parallel Wireless’s solutions enabled 2G and 4G technology to be installed on the same radio units, with baseband deployed on a x86 commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) platform, and all other applications deployed on Axiata’s OpenStack cloud infrastructure, he said.

"The field trials now elevated to commercial availability, included 3-Sector, 4-Sector and 6-Sector sites, and demonstrated high quality network performance.

"End-user experience was demonstrated to be seamless and, in some cases, superior in terms of mobile broadband experience including next generation voice services,” he said.

Axiata was supported by Infosys in executing multi-faceted system integrations required to demonstrate the comprehensive coverage of Open RAN configuration options, he added. - Bernama

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