By Mike Robuck
Rakuten Symphony battles open RAN misconceptions
Rakuten Symphony is constantly engaged with operators to highlight the benefits of open RAN deployments, but CTO Raghunath Hariharan believes the biggest worry is the fear of the unknown.
He noted operators were used to buying and deploying pre-made products from their current providers, “so this new way of building and deploying networks using web-scale methods can be intimidating”.
The second biggest concern is confusion about whether the operator must act as a systems integrator to benefit from the reduced cost and operational benefits of open RAN. He stated that lack of clarity was leading to further speculation and uncertainty.
“It doesn’t help that some stakeholders with a vested interest in the status quo are spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt that muddies the conversation around open RAN’s real benefits and technological advantages,” he said.
And it isn’t just operators that are confused about open RAN as lawmakers and government officials have a limited understanding of it.
“This is where the O-RAN Alliance and Policy Coalition need to step up and play a bigger role in educating and presenting a compelling business case for open RAN to concerned officials and parties,” he stated.
Beyond standards, operators need to learn from the playbooks of other mission-critical, cloud-based industries such as healthcare or finance. While cloud security principles are new to telecoms, they’ve been proven across other industries, he said.
The best way to convince operators of the benefits of open RAN is to point to successful launches, such as Rakuten Mobile, according to Hariharan.
By showcasing successful results, he said Rakuten Symphony was paving the way for future technologies such as 5G and 6G to adopt open RAN as the building block for next-generation wireless networks.