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Two billion for Open RAN are supposed to help Europe

A leading representative of the Federal Ministry of Transport explains the government’s Open RAN funding and gets entangled in contradictions.

With the 2 billion euro funding from Open RAN, the federal government does not want to play”classic industrial policy providers”. That’s what Tobias Miethaner, department head at the Federal Ministry of Transport, said on September 23, 2022 at the 5GMasters event of the VATM industry association. “It’s about having an additional alternative that Europe can play along with.”

However, two of the world’s leading telecommunications suppliers are already from Europe: Nokia from Finland and Ericsson from Sweden. There are also Huawei and ZTE from China and Samsung Electronics from South Korea.

Open RAN is also more sustainable because not all components always have to be replaced, as is the case with conventional outfitters, said Miethaner. Network suppliers claim that not all RAN components are exchanged with every new generation of mobile communications.

Open RAN: Environmentally friendly and made in the USA?

According to Miethaner, state funding flows into “an open platform for Open RAN Labs and into the Open RAN Cities, where the technology is tested under real conditions.” A program for the Open RAN ecosystem will follow next year.
Open RAN means cloud, virtualized network elements, white box hardware, open-source software, and standardized interfaces. This means that there is no need for proprietary, highly developed chips from the suppliers. Open RAN is a technology with potential, but according to experts, there are still many question marks. There is currently no cause for excessive enthusiasm, neither with the low performance nor with the high energy consumption. The many US vendors in the field will have to put up with questions about working with the NSA.