Dennis Hoffman, SVP and GM of Dell Technologies’ telecom systems business (pictured), told Mobile World Live it is supplying open RAN products to four major European operators and hinted a fifth deal is in the works.

Dell has announced open RAN deals with Vodafone Group, Deutsche Telekom and Orange. Hoffman explained details of an agreement with a fourth operator is imminent and suggested it won’t be the last.

“Stay tuned for the fifth”.

Vodafone is the only European operator to have disclosed plans to actually deploy a live open RAN network using Dell’s products.

Samsung, Dell, NEC and Wind River are supplying hardware and software for the network.

Dell is also supplying servers and infrastructure for a two-year trial of a standalone 5G cloud-native network by Orange using Mavenir open RAN products.

Mavenir and Dell are also working together on a Deutsche Telekom open RAN test bed, with Supermicro also supplying some of the server hardware.

In the US, Dell is one of the vendors helping Dish Network build a greenfield, cloud-based open RAN 5G network.

Hoffman explained Dell would like to eventually sell operators a “turnkey” RAN product, aggregating and integrating hardware and software from different vendors.

He gave the theoretical example of a RAN subsystem supplied by Dell in partnership with Mavenir and VMware, noting his company could provide “sales, delivery, deployment and support” to operators.

“The megatrend at work here is digital transformation of business”.

“The telecommunications industry is one of the verticals that is later to that party than the others”.

Operators’ drive to digitise their own and customers’ businesses will come with a tidal wave of pressure to open network interfaces, Hoffman predicted.

He said “super powers” Intel and Microsoft are pushing the industry toward openness. “It is quite literally a matter of us ploughing through the operational logistics of making it happen, but it’s inevitable”.