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VMware expands Cloud Telco Platform into the RAN

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VMware says its Telco Cloud Platform RAN extends the benefits of network disaggregation and virtualization from the core to the RAN.

VMware Telco Cloud Platform lets network operators deploy and run virtualised network functions (VNFs) and containerised network functions (CNFs) across 5G networks. The company says the new platform helps CSPs virtualise RAN functions with support for Intel FlexRAN software reference architecture.

DISH cloud native

Last July, the US’ intended fourth national network provider, DISH, signed a contract with VMWare to build “the most advanced, automated, end-to-end 5G network in the US”. Marc Rouanne, Executive VP and Chief Network Officer at DISH, said about the extended platform, “Our entire 5G network will be cloud-native, and we will leverage the VMware Telco Cloud Platform to adopt an O-RAN architecture for all RAN sites.

“We are working with the best hardware and software providers and VMware is helping us achieve this vision. We believe this path will enable us to deliver amazing experiences and services to our customers faster and more efficiently.”

RAN evolution

This same platform supports the evolution from RAN to virtualized RAN (vRAN) then O-RAN – without disrupting CSPs’ operations or them having to overhaul network design.

“The transformation of the RAN will significantly change how operators purchase, construct, and maintain their mobile networks. It presents a significant economic opportunity and will allow for the introduction of new capabilities and expand the pool of solution providers.

We forecast the convergence of openness and virtualization will generate around $3.4 billion in annual revenues by 2025, giving it about 9.5% of the total 4G and 5G RAN market,” said Daryl Schoolar, Practice Leader, Fixed and Mobile Infrastructure, Omdia.

“But before we get there, operators must figure out how to transition from legacy solutions to open and virtualized architectures without disrupting their services – quite a task. VMware, with its history of helping operators make this transition in other parts of the network, is in a strong position to support operators as they make this transition with their radio access networks.”

Monetizing 5G

“A modern, open, and disaggregated RAN offers CSPs the single best opportunity to rapidly monetize 5G services,” said Sanjay Uppal, Senior VP and GM, Service Provider and Edge at VMware.

“New 5G services rely on CSPs being able to host apps at the edge, close to end customers. A virtualized and open RAN allows CSPs to deliver these new edge services to customers directly from RAN sites.

“With Telco Cloud Platform RAN, we accelerate the disaggregation of the proprietary RAN and enable CSPs to modernize their RAN so they can monetize the 5G services they deliver across their network.”