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NEPs made no mention of open RAN at ‘no-MWC’ events, which is a missed opportunity in a fast-moving market

Roberto Kompany Senior Analyst, Research

"Most MNOs surveyed by Analysys Mason in 4Q 2019 view open and disaggregated networks as essential to their next-generation radio access networks, but the lack of any announcements from the incumbent RAN vendors at their 'no-MWC' events is disappointing."

Mobile World Congress (MWC), the largest telecoms industry annual event was cancelled this year due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus). Telecoms vendors use this event to showcase the progress that they have made during the previous year. To fill the gap left by the cancellation of MWC, most vendors, including Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia and ZTE (the four leading players (or 'big 4') in the 5G radio access network (RAN) space) followed up with the analyst community through small-scale engagements or webinars (referred to here as 'no-MWC' events) to deliver their key announcements. Unsurprisingly, a majority of big-4 vendors' announcements focused on new 5G customer deals and 5G RAN equipment, such as new and better massive MIMO antennas. While interesting, it is disappointing that no mention was made of the work undertaken by these four vendors with the O-RAN Alliance and Telecom Infra Project. However, announcements about 'MWC' O-RAN activities were made by start-ups and non-conventional players, such as Mavenir and Parallel Wireless. This comment analyses some of the challenges that mobile network operators (MNOs) are facing as they deploy 5G networks and what incumbent vendors should do to help.