Malaysia’s Axiata opts for Open RAN in network transformation program
The Malaysian telecommunications conglomerate Axiata Group has partnered with Infosys, Parallel Wireless and Mavenir in a major network transformation program that uses the Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) as a key technology.
Axiata has already conducted successful Open RAN pilots in Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, thanks to its strategic partnerships with Mavenir, a global network solutions provider, Open RAN Parallel Wireless architecture specialist, and Infosys, which is the system integrator (SI) for project.
Open RAN technology provides disaggregated RAN functionality built using open interface specifications between different elements. It can be implemented in vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology based on open interfaces and community-developed standards.
The use of Open RAN technology in telecommunications networks requires system integration capabilities to integrate the disaggregated component ecosystem using standardized, open, general-purpose hardware interfaces, ensuring interoperability in an operator-class environment, according to Axiata.
Here comes Infosys’ involvement in the project, with Indian SI performing the multilateral system integrations needed to demonstrate comprehensive coverage of Open RAN configuration options.
“Open RAN is transforming the wireless architecture and enabling telecom operators to be more competitive and innovative, while giving them flexibility in the ecosystem of RAN component providers,” said Anand Suminanathan, executive vice president and global leader in the communications, media and technology in Infosys.
“The successful completion of the live field test was a key step in accelerating the large-scale deployment of virtual and Open RAN networks. Infosys is excited to be Axiata’s SI partner in this transformational journey and is determined to stand together to achieve many more milestones in the near future, ”he added.
On the infrastructure side, Axiata has implemented the Mavenir MAWair Open vRAN solution (virtualized RAN), including all G Open RAN, Packet Core and Mobile Network applications on selected sites.
In order to simulate “imperfect” transmission conditions, especially for rural areas, the selected sites are connected by microwave feedback and in some cases by satellite. Axiata claims that this combination marks the initial trial deployments as the world’s first Open vRAN satellite opening sites.
The telecommunications company also claims that during the testing phase it managed to achieve the first integration of live services of the telecommunications infrastructure project (TIP) Evenstar 4G Radio through the Mavenir-based Open RAN solution based on MAVair O-RAN.
It should be noted that Axiata is a participant in the TIP initiative, which involves a global community of companies and organizations working together to accelerate the development and deployment of open, disaggregated and standards-based technology solutions that provide high quality, low-cost connectivity.
Axiata said it has successfully demonstrated the commercial deployment of 2G and 4G Open RAN connectivity in its network in Sri Lanka, which is managed by its subsidiary Dialog Axiata. This was thanks to Parallel Wireless solutions, which allowed 2G and 4G technology to be installed on the same radio devices.
The intention is for Axiata and its partners to launch large-scale commercial deployments by the end of the year.
“Together with our partners Mavenir, Parallel Networks and Infosys, and in line with the global connectivity boost of the telecommunications infrastructure project, Axiata is committed to adopting a fully automated infrastructure to boost the open network ecosystem in Asia,” said Thomas Hund. , Axiata Group Executive Vice President of Technology.
“Our successful trials in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia prove that Open RAN solutions allow for greater operational and cost-effectiveness using state-of-the-art technology while meeting the needs of our digital inclusion efforts across the region.
“We look forward to taking the next step towards commercialization in our quest to catalyze game change in developing Asia,” he added.
On June 21, Axiata Group and the Norwegian telecommunications provider Telenor revealed that they have reached a deal to merge their respective Malaysian mobile operations, Celcom and Digi.
At the time, the companies said they had successfully completed the due diligence and signed the deal agreements for the proposed merger of Celcom Axiata and Digi, which would merge as MergeCo for the purpose of the merger. Once the combination is complete, Celcom and Digi will become Celcom Digi Berhad.
If all goes according to plan, the proposed merger is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2022.
Earlier this month, Axiata Group, through its Axiata Enterprise division, said it would drastically deepen its partnership with Google Cloud, concluding a deal to distribute the services of the cloud provider for its telecommunications brands in Asia.