Intel staked a claim as the leading provider of chips for virtualised RANs (vRAN) as it unveiled new additions to its 5G and edge product portfolios during an advance MWC21 Barcelona briefing.

The vendor introduced its Intel Network Platform, which includes system-level reference architectures, drivers and software building blocks. The company is unifying the codebase and architecture for its two Smart Edge software solutions for the multi-access edge computing (MEC) layer.

Intel added the platform will add security to vRAN deployments through a new field programmable gate array with integrated cryptography acceleration.

Finally, Intel is adding an Ethernet adapter for space-constrained systems at edge locations, which will include Synchronous Ethernet, a method of transferring frequency over the physical layer.

Intel said its technology is already deployed in more than 35,000 edge implementations and estimated the market for silicon used at the network edge will be worth $65 billion by 2025.

The chip giant highlighted Deutsche Telekom, Reliance Jio and Cellnex were among a number of network operators using its technology, adding it is also working with some of the industry’s most prominent innovators including Dish Network and Cohere Technologies.

In a further sign of Intel’s focus on 5G, CEO Pat Gelsinger last week joined Qualcomm president and CEO-elect Cristiano Amon at the CNBC Evolve Global Summit to discuss cooperation.

Gelsinger explained Intel could combine its compute expertise with Qualcomm’s communications strength, and detailed plans to open new chip factories in the US and Europe by the year-end.

Amon said those facilities were “a great opportunity for Qualcomm”.

The Intel chief also expressed concern about Nvidia’s move to acquire chip design company Arm and said it would “definitely be interested in understanding” alternative options.

Qualcomm reportedly also expressed interest if the Nvidia move falls through.