Vodafone and Qualcomm will form a highly significant partnership with the aim of developing blueprints to lower the barriers that smaller vendors face when entering the RAN equipment market. They plan to predefine many of the physical components of two crucial elements of a virtualised RAN (vRAN): the distributed unit (DU) and the radio unit (RU). They will also support open interfaces as defined by the O-RAN Alliance.
If successful, Vodafone and Qualcomm will take a big step towards achieving a key aim of the Open RAN initiative: to broaden the choice of equipment suppliers in order to boost competition and innovation and reduce the power of incumbent vendors. However, there are questions over how open the radio unit blueprint can be if it remains defined by only one chipmaker, since other chip providers will be excluded from the platform.
About the Author
Research Director - Research
Caroline leads Analysys Mason’s Networks research practice, as well as leading many 5G-related research activities across multiple programmes. She is responsible for building and running Analysys Mason's unique research base of mobile and converged operators worldwide.
She works directly with Analysys Mason's research clients to advise them on wireless network trends and market developments. She has been engaged in technology analysis, research and consulting for 30 years, and has focused entirely on mobile and wireless since 2002. Her focus is on critical issues and trends related to mobile and wireless infrastructure, particularly operator deployment intentions for 4G, 5G, cloud-RAN and other technologies. She has led research and consulting projects with a wide range of clients, including mobile infrastructure vendors, large and start-up operators, regulators, trade bodies, government agencies and financial institutions.
Caroline co-founded Rethink Technology Research in 2002. Prior to that, she held various executive positions at VNU Business Publishing (then Europe's largest producer of technology-related B2B reports and publications). She holds an MA from the University of Oxford.