LIVE FROM MWC LAS VEGAS 2022: Qualcomm revealed operators and OEMs are trialling a pair of open RAN products, paving the way for commercial deployments in the second half of 2023.

Gerardo Giaretta, senior director and the head of Qualcomm’s infrastructure business, stated the company decided to get into sector two years ago through open and virtualised RAN.

Qualcomm developed the X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card and QRU100 5G RAN Platform to simplify and lower the cost of 5G deployments, while also driving network modernisation.

Giaretta said some customers commenced trials in July.

The Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card was designed to enable cloud-native, virtualised network deployments by offloading server CPUs from compute-intensive 5G baseband processing.

It is compatible with a range of baseband function split options, and works on mmWave and sub-6GHz frequencies. Qualcomm highlighted an upgradeable architecture will keep the product up-to-date with latest 3GPP specifications.

Qualcomm’s QRU100 5G RAN platform was created to improve radio performance, including high-power and high-capacity operations. It offers Massive MIMO capabilities and a compatible modem RF system.

Other features include multi-operator RAN sharing, DSS, digital beamforming, and 64T64R, 32T32R and non-Massive MIMO technologies.

NEC, Mavenir and Fujitsu are among the vendors testing the produts.

Dell’Oro Group analyst Stefan Pongratz told Mobile World Live the “fact that these products remain on track” to launch in 2023 is “a step in the right direction” and welcomed potential growth in operator interest.

But he noted work remained to “fully understand how these hybrid GPP/accelerator card solutions compare not just with look-aside acceleration but also with purpose-built RAN”.