Nokia confident of edge over open RAN specialists - Mobile World Live

Nokia confident of edge over open RAN specialists

22 MAR 2021

Nokia president of Mobile Networks Tommi Uitto (pictured) backed established vendors to strongly compete against new entrants in the open RAN segment, citing advantages related to end-to-end delivery and making the technology cost-effective.

In an interview with Mobile World Live, Uitto said experience achieving spectral efficiency would give established players like Nokia the edge over specialists which, he conceded, may currently be technically superior on open RAN systems.

“Of course you would expect some of these new open RAN suppliers may be ahead of the rest of us,” he added, “but we can compete against them with feature richness, stability of performance and being carrier grade.”

“Spectrum is the most expensive asset to any operator, so they are unlikely to accept any technology that would be less spectrum efficient,” Uitto noted, pointing to this being an area where established players have a solid advantage.

“Sometimes there’s a discussion in open RAN that maybe less will do, and maybe that’s ok in some rural areas, but when the going gets tough and spectral efficiency is important, operators will not expect anything less.”

“Our open RAN strategy has been we would rather be part of it than fight against it,” he noted. “This is one topic where you just have to grab the bull by the horns and start working on it.”

Traditional mobile network vendors such as Nokia and Ericsson are going up against arguably more nimble, specialised open RAN players such as Parallel Wireless, Mavenir, Airspan Networks and more.

Turnaround
Open RAN is an area identified as one of Nokia’s Mobile Network division’s major priorities in the vendor’s turnaround plan. This is alongside achieving 5G leadership, pushing virtualised RAN and pursuit of new business for private network deployments.

Discussing the company’s vaunted restructure, detailed at its Capital Markets Day last week, Uitto noted customers had been positive on efforts to streamlining the buying and delivery process.

Under its previous structure its mobile networks suffered from being fragmented, he added, with the new version more streamlined with much less bureaucracy. Internal savings made from these, and other, measures is set to be pumped into increasing R&D with a view to the company catching-up on 5G and meeting its other strategic goals.

“We have been narrowing the gap between us and the competition,” Uitto added. “We aim to continue to run faster and narrow the gap this year in whatever areas we may still be behind.”

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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