Axiata announces plans to commercialise Open RAN

28 Jun 2021

Malaysia’s Axiata Group has revealed it is embarking on an ‘ambitious’ network transformation programme, leveraging Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN). In a press release regarding the matter, the group said that with an eye on realising largescale commercial deployments by year end, it has successfully conducted Open RAN commercial field pilots in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, doing so through strategic partnerships with solutions providers Mavenir and Parallel Wireless and supported by Infosys as systems integrator.

Through its strategic partnership with Mavenir, Axiata deployed the MAVair Open vRAN solution including all G Open RAN, Packet Core and Mobile Network applications at selected sites in Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. To simulate non-ideal backhaul conditions, especially for rural areas, the sites selected were connected with non-ideal backhaul (microwave links), and in some cases satellite, a development which the company claimed made these ‘the first satellite backhaul powered Open vRAN sites in the world’. During the testing phase, Axiata said it had also been able to achieve the first live commercial service integration of the Telecom Infrastructure Project’s (‘TIP’s) Evenstar 4G Radio through Mavenir’s MAVair O-RAN based solution for Open RAN.

At the same time, in collaboration with US-based Parallel Wireless, Axiata said it had successfully tested the first and only Open RAN networks in Sri Lanka through its subsidiary Dialog Axiata, enabling both 2G and 4G broadband connectivity. According to Axiata, Parallel Wireless’s solutions enabled 2G and 4G technology to be installed on the same radio units, with basebands on a x86 commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) platform, whilst all other applications were installed on Axiata’s OpenStack cloud infrastructure.

Thomas Hundt, Axiata’s Group Executive Vice President – Technology, said of the developments: ‘Together with our partners Mavenir, Parallel Networks and Infosys, and in line with the global connectivity push under the Telecom Infrastructure Project, Axiata is committed towards embracing fully automated infrastructure to boost the open networks ecosystem in Asia. Our successful trials in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia prove that Open RAN solutions enable greater operational and cost efficiencies using advanced technologies, whilst also meeting the needs of our digital inclusion efforts across the region. We look forward to taking the next step towards commercialisation in our pursuit of catalysing game-changing advancements across emerging Asia.’

Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Axiata, Celcom Axiata, Dialog Axiata, Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, XL Axiata