With a vision to help global mobile operators to reimagine their networks through its unified ALL G cloud- native OpenRAN architecture and the world’s first and largest OpenRAN ecosystem, Parallel Wireless has engaged with 50+ leading operators worldwide and has been named as a best-performing vendor by Telefonica and Vodafone. Parallel Wireless’s innovation and excellence in multi-technology, open virtualized RAN solutions have been recognized with 65+ industry awards. Sanjay Harwani, VP R&D and GM-India, Parallel Wireless during an interaction with Nitisha talks about the latest trends in telecom industry and also shares insight on Open-RAN and 5G.
Kindly talk about the telecom market in India and the business potential for Parallel Wireless.
Indian telcos are preparing to launch 5G services later this year. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the development of India’s digital ecosystem, demanding that telcos scale and expand their networks to address growing demand.
India is a crucial market for us, and we have deployments with major service providers in the country. We look forward to deepening our engagement with them. 5G is a massive opportunity for Indian telcos to let go of the traditional siloed model of adding one more layer for every new standard. Open RAN not only allows them to bring down the cost of network deployment and management but also boosts innovation by allowing them to move away from expensive proprietary solutions.
Open RAN is especially relevant to India and can play a crucial role in helping the country connect the unconnected population of around 700 million. With Open RAN, Indian MNOs can bring down capital expenditure significantly as it uses an open stack that is interoperable. In addition, a key feature of Open RAN is that it disaggregates the hardware and software components of the network, making it possible for service providers to purchase different elements from different vendors, which is more cost-effective and fosters innovation. Increasingly, Open RAN is being used for building private 5G networks for enterprises.
Kindly highlight the contribution of the Indian R&D center to the development of new products and solutions for Parallel Wireless.
Our R&D center in India opened in 2013, shortly after the company’s formation in 2012. Our highly-skilled team continues to make significant contributions to developing all our innovative products that delight our customers across the world.
Our team in India comes with deep expertise in designing and developing best-in-class cloud-native Open RAN software and hardware solutions. In addition, the team is leading automation development in Open RAN networks by using tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to ensure intelligent operation of the networks.
We have aggressive plans to grow our R&D center in India. We plan to increase the team size by the end of this year. We will also be making significant investments to help our team members upskill in line with the changing market demands.
What is the growing relevance of Open RAN in 5G and otherwise?
Open RAN-powered disaggregated network architecture give much-needed flexibility to telcos to extend the benefits of 5G to more users in a cost-effective and energy-efficient manner. It brings down the cost of network deployment while making the networks future-ready for new technologies.
Open RAN is inherently built for a vast network of vendors, which is a crucial requirement of telcos in 5G as the service providers would be partnering with several vendors for 5G applications and services. Furthermore, being a software-based solution, it is easy to scale an Open RAN network up and down as per the evolving requirements. Open RAN networks provide greater flexibility to the telcos to address the demands of 5G applications with different performance, capacity, and latency requirements.
The implementation of cloud-native automation allows open RAN in 5G networks to provide interoperability, better network performance and network intelligence to lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Furthermore, the use of cloud-native automation tools such as Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP) and AI/ML enable the creation of agile and flexible applications in Open RAN environments. Automated orchestration and management is another critical benefit of a cloud-native Open RAN solution. Automation improves network deployment at all stages, starting from preparation to roll out to the management and monitoring of the network after rollout.
Open RAN also helps in improving the indoor coverage of 5G networks, thus enabling telcos to provide a superior experience to customers. Most of the 5G use cases, Enhance Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC), and Massive Machine Type Connectivity (mMTC), happen indoors, therefore making it crucial for telcos to improve the indoor experience. Besides, several 5G use cases for enterprises take place in the indoor environment.
Open RAN will also play a crucial role in building private 5G networks, a key use case of 5G, for enterprises. Open RAN-based private 5G networks are able to provide secure, agile, reliable and most importantly cost-effective connectivity that enterprises and mission-critical applications need. Parallel Wireless’ solution leverages advanced radio access technologies, including small cells and macrocells, for better coverage and capacity in all parts of the premises. It is helping enterprises from different verticals, including mining, manufacturing, oil and gas, among others, to leverage new 5G use cases for improved operational efficiency.
Kindly throw some light on Open RAN potential in the overall market.
Service providers worldwide are realizing the growing relevance of Open RAN in helping them simplify network operations while improving customer experience. According to a recent Dell’Oro report, cumulative Open RAN revenue from 2020 to 2025 could touch $15 billion, with Open RAN revenues accounting for more than 10% of the overall RAN market by 2025. Initially, Open RAN was being deployed only for greenfield networks, but this is changing now. There are several examples of successful brownfield deployments, helping service providers to reduce operational costs while avoiding vendor lock-in and simplifying the network.
Open RAN is also being used for building private LTE/5G networks. A key reason for this is that Open RAN is more suitable for integration with edge cloud services when compared with traditional RAN systems. Open RAN networks are programmable and so can be easily configured to address the specific requirements of the enterprises. We believe the use of Open RAN for building private 5G networks will see increased traction across the world.
Global telecom trends and India’s importance.
India’s importance can hardly be exaggerated as the world’s second-largest telecom market. As a mature telecom market, India is likely to play a crucial role in the development of new communications standards.
Globally, there is an urgency to connect the unconnected population of 3 billion as the digital economy continues to grow. Telcos have accelerated their digital transformation to be able to benefit from emerging market opportunities. There is a growing awareness in the telecom industry to adopt sustainable practices to reach the goal of net-zero carbon emissions.
Challenges for Open RAN in India and globally.
The challenge for Open RAN is that the service providers tend to view it as appropriate only for new deployments. However, it should be used for all technology networks to realize its full benefit. Using Open RAN only for 5G means that service providers end up managing two types of networks, an Open RAN-based 5G network and the traditional network for 2G, 3G and 4G. This is counterproductive. While it may bring short-term benefits, the overall operational expense may rise by 50% since the old networks will neither be power-efficient nor easy to maintain.
While service providers will be launching 5G in India, the existing 2G, 3G, and 4G networks will remain relevant for several years. This means that service providers will need to maintain multiple networks leading to network complexity and high operational cost of managing the network. Our All-G solution allows service providers to unify all G networks, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G, for better management and to bring down the total cost of ownership.
What are your future marketing strategies for the growth of the company?
The Open RAN movement has gained momentum across the world and the next few years will see the technology maturing with growing deployments in all geographies. Our R&D team in India is working on several new products and solutions which will be launched in the near future. We are boosting our engagement with all service providers in the country to help them bring down the cost of network deployment and management.