LIVE FROM TIP FYUZ23, MADRID: Ericsson network guru Fredrik Jejdling (pictured) appeared via video link to explain an apparent softening in its stance towards open RAN, noting it sees opportunities in a maturing cloud-native market and is keen to remain at the forefront of technology development.
Ericsson’s EVP and head of Networks said recent moves around cloud-native infrastructure highlighted the importance of the industry working together to create its next chapter, while acknowledging it, as a vendor, needs operators to be able to generate revenue from the latest trends and developments.
The vendor last month detailed progress in developing an open fronthaul set-up and revealed a separate agreement with Telefonica covering cloud RAN, but Jejdling said it had been working to ensure its equipment was part of the open and disaggregated set for some time.
He noted 1 million Ericsson radio units are capable of being connected through open interfaces, though predicted “a gradual evolution over time when it comes to software to enable that”, with efforts not likely to begin in earnest until 2024.
Jejdling also appeared to address a perception Ericsson had been resistant to open RAN and related initiatives, citing collaboration with the O-RAN Alliance and noting the vendor had waited until the market began maturing.
With this maturation now underway, he said Ericsson is keen on staying ahead of innovation and “being a technology leader”.
The vendor wants to “build a 5G network platform with everything cloud-native” and using standardised open RAN interfaces. Jejdling explained the work will lead to “efficiencies of scale”, optimise cost and deliver high levels of performance.
“But, also from a more broad perspective, addressing possibly more of the revenue-generating perspective of the industry, about what we can actually achieve with the networks we’ve built”.
Jejdling explained Ericsson is keeping the 5G revenue opportunity firmly in sight, exploring the potential of a “more horizontal, software-defined type of network”, which he argues will deliver new use cases by giving developers access to the capabilities of the network “and expose them through APIs”.
It boils down to “defining and building” open, cloud-native networks, encouraging the industry to expose that and “quite frankly come together” to capitalise on the development to secure future revenue opportunities.
“I think that’s the predominant end-goal for us”.