Intriguingly, trials that Deutsche Telekom publicized in February used a RIC developed by VMware, a US cloud-computing firm, for system improvements. Thanks to that tool, Deutsche Telekom was able to use a software application from Cohere Technologies, a Californian company, to boost radio performance.
Tavares thinks efforts to diversify the main RAN market are far more questionable. “There is so much to be done in terms of investment to develop a new baseband system, a new radio unit and so on. There are not a lot of companies out there that even with an open interface are going to be able to navigate this market,” he said. Tavares also doubts open RAN will necessarily bring the massive savings that some of its supporters have promised. “This is not a market where the current vendors are really enjoying huge margins,” he said.
However open RAN eventually shapes up within Deutsche Telekom, today’s endorsement of Nokia is a clear marketing opportunity for the Finnish vendor and a potential worry for Ericsson and Huawei. For the broader open RAN community shouting about diversification, it is a headscratcher.