Nokia, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and U.S. Cellular joined the ranks of Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Verizon in the Open RAN Policy Coalition, formed last month to promote policies for openness and interoperability in a key part of the architecture used for 5G. The June 12 announcement of 14 new members brings the total number of companies in the coalition to 45.

Typically, the core network connects to the internet in order to access an application. “With the advent of 5G, the core and the application functionality will shift closer to the end user,” said the coalition’s Executive Director Diane Rinaldo, in an interview with MeriTalk last month. This shift to 5G makes the Radio Access Network (RAN) cell sites more vital, she said.

Congressional legislation has proposed grant programs towards Open RAN technologies and equipment. Unlike previous generations of wireless technology – where one manufacturer would provide the radios, hardware, and software in a “closed proprietary solution” at a RAN cell site – the companies in the Open RAN Policy Coalition want to be able diversify the component elements in the RAN to drive innovation and competition as more 5G networks are deployed.

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Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.