Andy Welch offers through leadership on the future of Open access connectivity for Digital Leaders.

Mobile connectivity is rapidly changing and 5G technology is fast establishing itself as a critical conduit for integrating ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) to bring smart cities, self-driving vehicles and industry 4.0 technologies into our lives.

As connectivity is evolving, Open RAN (Radio Access Network) has rapidly proved itself a hot topic for the telecomms industry and the players within it. As we seek to improve connectivity across businesses and communities, extending network access to encompass more aspects of our daily lives, it’s critical we embrace the concept of interoperable network solutions.

Under the current RAN model, we see a small number of suppliers in control of supplying network components, meaning the market is dominated by a handful of players with their own, end-to-end infrastructure solutions.

The idea of Open RAN, is to create a marketplace where networks can be built using components from multiple suppliers, connected over standardised open interfaces.

By encouraging the growth and implementation of open standards, more vendors can enter the market of building networks, which ultimately will bring us closer achieving superfast connectivity at scale.

More suppliers in the marketplace are beneficial to all as it creates flexibility and resilience and encourages competition. This diversity will in turn reduce costs, create more bespoke solutions, and improve capacity for connectivity, supporting emerging digital technologies. 

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