NTT Docomo formed a coalition of 13 international technology companies to collaborate on accelerating open RAN and pushing commercial launches of virtualised networks in 2022.

In a statement, the operator said it joined forces with companies including the Japanese unit of Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, Nvidia, Mavenir and Qualcomm.

NTT Docomo explained the cooperation sought to achieve an overseas expansion of the 5G open RAN ecosystem and “help enable flexible network deployment to serve diverse company and operator needs in the 5G era”.

The companies will discuss the introduction of open RAN with operators considering the network architecture approach, aiming to “package, provide, install, operate and maintain the optimal radio access network” for them.

To further promote the approach, Docomo explained the group will develop “a more flexible and highly expandable virtual RAN” which it aims to bring to market in 2022.

The coalition will also commence discussions around verification covering vRAN  performance evaluation, and work to establish an environment enabling operators to use this “remotely and freely”.

Docomo is a long-time advocate of open RAN, having been a founder of the O-RAN Alliance in 2018.

Yesterday (3 February), the operator led another initiative to create a consortium covering development of private 5G systems and related managed services for enterprises.

Last month operator heavyweights Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone Group established a collaboration covering the rollout and development of open RAN technology, in a bid to ensure the continent keeps up with early pacesetters, the US and Japan.