INFER Explores the Future of Open RAN

INFER team
May 20, 2024 06:19PM UTC

INFER has launched a new strategic topic on the Open RAN ecosystem for a U.S. government stakeholder to determine the extent to which the U.S. should continue investing in this effort. Many U.S. policymakers see Open RAN technology as having national security implications for its potential to undo global reliance on China’s Huawei, the largest supplier of the proprietary systems carrying the world’s internet data and phone calls (Washington Post). The U.S. has already committed $1.5 billion over the next ten years to this telecommunication technology through the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (NTIA).

An Open RAN standard would allow telecommunication companies like Verizon and AT&T to use vendor-neutral software and hardware, so they do not have to be “locked in” to just one company to build functional networks (The Verge, Network World). According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, open and interoperable wireless equipment will help drive competition, strengthen global supply chain resilience and lower costs for consumers and network operators (NTIA). 

The issue was scoped into the strategic topic:

We identified four drivers, and relevant signals within each driver, that influence how the Open RAN ecosystem will evolve:
  1. Open RAN Development: How will mobile network technology advance? Signals in this driver monitor the global interest, advancements, and potential of Open RAN technologies in the near future.
  2. Open RAN Adoption: Will Open RAN gain significant traction and be adopted by mobile network operators in the U.S. and around the world? This driver looks at the potential use cases and applications of Open RAN technologies globally. 
  3. O-RAN Alliance: How will efforts by the O-RAN Alliance to create an open mobile network architecture develop? This driver monitors financial, technological, and operational developments of the O-RAN Alliance.
  4. International Landscape: How will governments, regulators, and companies around the world shape the mobile network technology landscape? This driver looks at major players, such as those in China and the EU, and how their actions might impact the Open RAN ecosystem. 

You can see all questions in this decomposition by using the “Open RAN” tag. More questions are coming soon, but you can start forecasting on the questions below:

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