BERLIN, June 28 (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom has
successfully tested software-based mobile network technology
using high-capacity antennas, it said on Monday, a potential
alternative to existing network suppliers that could give mobile
firms more flexibility and cut costs.
The trial of its Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) in the
German town of Neubrandenburg is the first of its kind in
Europe, Deutsche Telekom's technology chief Claudia
Nemat told an online presentation.
"We are convinced that - as the technology matures - it will
drive choice and innovation in a new ecosystem of partners,"
Nemat told the event, which coincided with, but was separate
from, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The telecoms industry is exploring a shift to open networks
that would reduce its reliance on antennas and base stations
made by vendors such as Huawei, Nokia and
Such open networks would replace proprietary kit with
standardised hardware and software, offering greater flexibility
in configuring operations and choosing vendors.
Until now, however, it has been a challenge to get open
networks to handle so-called Massive MIMO - or multiple input,
multiple output - antennas that power 5G networks by locking on
to many smartphone users at the same time.
As part of its 'O-RAN Town' project in Neubrandenburg,
Deutsche Telekom has already integrated the first sites to its
network and plans to configure up to 25 of its 4G and 5G mobile
units for O-RAN, said Nemat.
Deutsche Telekom is partnering with Mavenir,
Fujitsu and NEC on its O-RAN project, while
Nokia is also involved in a joint research initiative on the
Nemat teased the prospect of a big tender this October to
step up work on O-RAN, but cautioned it would be two to five
years before the technology could be widely deployed in Deutsche
Telekom's European networks.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine
Editing by Mark Potter)