Nokia in pact with NTT DoCoMo following open RAN trials

Sadayuki Abeta NTT DoCoMo.jpg

Two months after Nokia announced radio access network deals with Japan’s KDDI and SoftBank, the Finnish vendor has said it is ready to supply open RAN equipment to their rival, NTT DoCoMo.

This announcement follows trials of Nokia’s AirScale baseband, which was integrated and tested with third-party solutions – a sign that Nokia has embraced the open radio access network (open RAN) world.

Tommi Uitto, president of mobile networks at Nokia, said: “This project with NTT DoCoMo is further evidence of our commitment to leading the open mobile future by investing in open RAN solutions.”

Sadayuki Abeta (pictured), general manager of DoCoMo’s radio access network development department, commented: “NTT DoCoMo has been actively driving open RAN standardisation and commercialisation, being the world’s first operator to deploy multi-vendor O-RAN solutions for the 5G network.”

Nokia said that DoCoMo tested the 5G O-RAN AirScale baseband equipment at its lab in Yokosuka, and it “was successfully integrated and tested with third-party radio units”.

The vendor said: “Nokia’s O-RAN capabilities are built on top of its AirScale software and provide the same high level of performance, functionality, and security as Nokia’s radio products.”

Uitto said: “Open RAN technology will enrich the mobile ecosystem with new solutions and business models and support an expanded multi-vendor ecosystem.”

Abeta said the trials have international significance: “Successful testing with Nokia is an important step in further accelerating open RAN commercialisation and its global expansion.”

Nokia said it is helping “to prepare for the network architecture of the future by building open interfaces on top of its existing solutions.

In October 2021 SoftBank and KDDI said they had chosen Nokia as one of the vendors to deploy Japan’s shared RAN.

Nokia will install a multi-operator radio access network, which will allow both companies to share the RAN while keeping core networks separate, enabling the delivery of 5G services to both SoftBank and KDDI customers across the country.