The Small Cell Forum proposed a global framework for hosted open RAN networks, seeking to combine the flexibility of the approach with the economic benefits of a neutral host model.

The forum stated open RAN small cell architectures make sense for rural and dense urban areas in addition to indoor deployments. It explained it aims to identify best practices and create a global structure based on approaches including the Joint Operators Technical Specifications indoor standards in the UK and OnGo Alliance in the US.

Small Cell Forum CSO Julius Robson explained the “mix of different sharing models presents complexity for the neutral host provider and so harmonised approaches are desirable”. The plan “combines all qualities of DAS and small cells with those of open RAN, disaggregation and virtualisation”.

Cellnex Telecom, Crown Castle, Colt Technologies, Dense Air, American Tower, BT, Freshwave Group, Wireless Infrastructure Group, Extanet Systems, CommScope and JMA Wireless all contributed to the proposal, with other service and technology providers invited to participate.

Piercarlo Giannattasio, global network densification principal at Cellnex, explained the proposal offers it a way to combine “the operation of passive elements and active elements such as transmission equipment, radio links and fibre to the tower” and was an “opportunity for our company to evolve towards an integrated telecommunication infrastructure management model”.