by Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief 

Open RAN group ties COVID-19 pandemic to RAN vendor choice, security and performance

A new group of operators and telecom network hardware and software vendors announced today the formation of the Open RAN Policy Coalition. As 5G deployments continue around the world, open RAN has gained momentum based on selling points, including breaking vendor lock-in, letting operators mix-and-match components, reducing TCO and increasing performance.

Groups like the O-RAN Alliance and Telecom Infra Project work on technical details of equipment interoperability and cooperative trial activity. As the name implies, the Open RAN Policy Coalition exists "to promote policies that will advance the adoption of open and interoperable solutions in the [RAN] as a means to create innovation, spur competition and expand the supply chain for advanced wireless technologies including 5G."

The telecom supply chain has certainly come into focus as the COVID-19 pandemic hits economies and industries around the globe, but it was a prominent issue pre-coronavirus, particularly the relationship between U.S. and allied companies and Chinese ICT powerhouse Huawei. U.S. lawmakers have imposed numerous business restrictions on Huawei and have pressured friendly governments to exclude the vendor from 5G builds on allegations of cooperation with the Chinese government.

In a statement, Open RAN Policy Coalition Executive Director Diane Rinaldo said, "As evidenced by the current global pandemic, vendor choice and flexibility in next-generation network deployments are necessary from a security and performance standpoint. By promoting policies that standardize and develop open interfaces, we can ensure interoperability and security across different players and potentially lower the barrier to entry for new innovators."

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