Five of the largest network operators in the Middle East have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that commits them to the support and deployment of Open RAN technology in their future infrastructure rollouts.
In a joint statement Etisalat Group, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Zain Group, Saudi Arabia-based Etisalat affiliate Mobily and du announced the signing of an agreement to share knowledge on the new infrastructure and deploy it across their operations.
"The MoU confirms commitment to deploy Open RAN across their footprint, providing an opportunity to traditional RAN vendors to adopt open interfaces, software and hardware to build more agile and flexible mobile networks in the 5G and 4G era, support new entrants with innovative solutions and achieve cost efficiencies in RAN deployments," said a joint press release.
According to the release, the partnership will open immense opportunities for operators and the telecom ecosystem with the availability of interoperable, competitive, and commercial-grade Open RAN products, building a framework to exchange best practices and technical outcomes.
For customers, they will gain an advantage with service catering to the local market requirements with faster time to market while using the most advanced mobile access networks. With operators focusing on introducing software capabilities in the Open RAN environment it will bring technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the forefront, it said.
Etisalat Group CTO Hatem Bamatraf said: “This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Middle East operators to come together to promote the development of an open technology that will help to enhance the flexibility and efficiency of our networks”.
Nawaf Al Gharabally, Zain Group's Chief Technology Officer, said: “This joint and innovative initiative by like-minded and visionary regional mobile operators is truly inspirational as it brings multiple benefits to all our stakeholders and further enhances the Middle East telecom sector’s position on the ICT world map.”
“Driving innovation and open RAN deployment is the shared responsibility of every telco operator,” du CTO Saleem Alblooshi added.