Software vendors Mavenir and Altiostar partnered to develop new open RAN kit for the US market, aiming to capitalise on political opposition to Chinese vendors.

Working with third-party hardware manufacturers, the companies plan to deliver an initial set of 4G and 5G radios compatible with US frequencies this month, with a full range in Q1 2021.

Initial kit will cover frequencies used by tier-one and smaller operators.

The companies intend to make their kit available to all open RAN vendors and system integrators in future, to expand the US supply chain for the technology.

Altiostar Networks CEO Ashraf Dahod stated the collaboration “will ensure operators in the US have a truly open and end-to-end infrastructure that will be cost effective and allow them to grow their business”.

The move comes as US officials push to reduce the country’s reliance on Chinese vendors, and follows the passing of a law requiring smaller operators to replace Huawei and ZTE equipment.

Responding to the move, Steve Papa, CEO of rival open RAN vendor Parallel Wireless, hailed the “potential to create new radio variants for more of the US frequencies”, but argued open kit will need to include key technologies including massive MIMO to pose serious competition to traditional gear.

The industry needs to invest in “semiconductor innovation that enables massive MIMO radios that are cost effective and more energy efficient than Huawei”, he said.

A Mavenir representative told Mobile World Live its kit will initially offer 4×4 MIMO and “support higher-order MIMO based on customer demand”.

Mavenir today (11 June) also revealed a separate deal with integration services company KGPCo to provide open RAN systems in the country, adding to agreements struck with GDT and Goodman Networks last week.