Orange Spain lauded the successful test of a data connection using open RAN equipment and a cloud-native standalone (SA) 5G core network, highlighting expected future benefits from the architecture combination.

The operator conducted the trial in partnership with vendors HPE, Casa Systems, Mavenir and Dell Technologies. It is part of a group-wide push on the use of open RAN and virtualised network infrastructure.

Among the expected benefits of combining the open architecture with a cloud-native SA 5G network cited by the operator were the ability to activate a next-generation network in less than an hour, flexibility for traffic management and energy consumption optimisation.

In its statement, the company also highlighted three major advantages of open RAN: encouraging the entry of new players into the ecosystem; cutting deployment and operating costs for network kit; and an increase in the speed new services can be launched.

Orange Spain network director Monica Sala claimed open RAN “not only drives competition and innovation by welcoming new providers into this technology domain, but also significantly reduces operational and deployment costs”.

The trial used its experimental cloud-native SA 5G core network named Pikeo, which was unveiled in 2021, with results from the initial two year trial presented at MWC Barcelona earlier this year.

Orange’s director of engineering Alexis Salas indicated its work in this area had given it a “vision of the future of telecommunications networks focused on the use of software and data as fundamental pillars”.

“This pilot has not only allowed us to test the technology itself, but has also been an opportunity to identify the new skills required and define the new processes that this network transformation entails,” he noted.