Etisalat partnered with US-based open RAN equipment provider Parallel Wireless to trial the technology across its markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as the operator targeted a reduction in the cost and complexity of network deployments.

The trials will employ Parallel Wireless’ software-defined products to operate 2G, 3G and 4G technologies simultaneously on the same base station. Parallel Wireless noted in a press release its platform can also be upgraded to include 5G compatibility via an update.

Hatem Bamatraf, CTO of Etisalat International, explained the trials are “in line with our long-term strategy”, reinforcing the operator’s commitment to “take the lead in OpenRAN” and work with partners to “create an innovative ecosystem in all of our markets”.

He added the use of Parallel Wireless’ All G platform will “provide efficiency and cost benefits for 4G and 5G, in addition to setting a roadmap for the next generation of telecom networks”.

The move comes after Etisalat partnered with Altiostar, NEC and Cisco to launch an open virtual RAN in its home UAE market in January.