A group comprising some of Europe’s largest operators published a list of priority technical requirements for open RAN systems, with a view to large scale deployments of technology based on the architecture from 2022.

The Open RAN Technical Priorities document represents the joint requirements of Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telecom Italia and Vodafone Group, which signed a memorandum of understanding to work together earlier this year.

Its guidance covers various aspects for the new equipment and is designed to show vendors where to focus to enable European deployments based on operator timelines.

The group added there was an aim to prioritise “commercial product availability in the short term, as well as solution development in the medium term.” Macro deployments are their primary target.

Among objectives identified, the operators noted: “Open fronthaul is considered as the key interface to implement a disaggregated, multi-vendor RAN, including massive MIMO, as a baseline for first macro deployments”.

“To become a competitive alternative to traditional RAN, the operators require solutions that will not compromise on network quality, security, high energy efficiency, as support for 4G and 5G based on both standalone and non-standalone, efficient RAN sharing and legacy band support”.

“Other capabilities related to an intelligent and programmable RAN are expected to emerge later, offering the potential for specialist start-ups to emerge and play an active role. All are essential in the long run to build a competitive open RAN ecosystem.”

The document covers a range of technical requirements including for specific interfaces, spectrum frequencies, automation expectations, security and energy efficiency of systems.