Parallel Wireless heads league table for open RAN vendors

Parallel Wireless heads league table for open RAN vendors

11 June 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The top four vendors in the emerging open RAN market are Parallel Wireless, Altiostar, Intel and Mavenir, according to a new report.

US-based Appledore Research lists those four as having the most announced contracts in open radio access network (open RAN) mobile technology, seen as a way of freeing the industry from commitment to two or three top equipment vendors.

“Open RAN has picked up considerable momentum in the last 12 months, with its appeal spreading within and beyond the original founders of the O-RAN Alliance,” says the report.

Parallel Wireless is the biggest in sheer numbers — value is not stated — with 18 announced contracts, ahead of Altiostar with 16. Intel and Mavenir have 14 and 11 respectively, says Appledore in the report, by consulting analyst Robert Curran.

“We’ve said before that open RAN is a movement not a standard — by which we mean that its goals are more commercial, than only technical. The success of open RAN is ultimately judged not by the existence of new (or changed) offerings, but by CSPs [communications service providers] actually buying them.”

He adds: “It looks like the industry is stepping up to the calls for greater openness, speed and diversity. And this is just the beginning. The major investments and support being given by large vendors to open RAN explicitly (Dell’s is the just the latest example), will take time to have impact — but impact they will surely have.”

Curran and his colleagues looked at 180 actual or strongly indicative preferences made by mobile telcos in relation to open RAN projects, covering more than 40 projects and more than 30 vendors.

“Most projects have yet to declare a visible preference in most of the key categories,” the report warns. “This is an early stage market. But there is certainly an advantage for vendors to being seen at the front of the pack, even at this stage.”

Following the four leading vendors, the report lists Gigatera, Dell, Supermicro and NEC (for its silicon) in positions five to eight. After that are VMware, Fujitsu, Rakuten Mobile and IBM’s Red Hat. Then follow Qualcomm, Xilinx and NEC’s radio unit.