Middle East’s leading telecom operators unite to support Open RAN

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
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Middle East region’s leading telecom operators Etisalat Group, stc, Zain Group, Mobily and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) have joined forces to accelerate the implementation of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) solutions in their existing telecom networks.

According to the statement, they will share their industry knowledge and experience as a result of the move, paving the way for innovation in the Middle East’s ICT sector.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between five operators confirms their commitment to deploy Open RAN across their footprint, offering traditional RAN vendors the opportunity to adopt open interfaces, software, and hardware to build more agile and flexible mobile networks in the 5G and 4G era. It will also support new entrants with innovative solutions, and reduce RAN deployment costs.

This alliance will provide enormous potential 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.

Mr. Haitham Alfaraj, SVP of Technology and Operations in stc Group said, “stc is committed to the introduction of latest technologies and innovative 5G/4G mobile networks solutions. The announcement signals the entry into a new era of operators’ collaboration in the Middle East to accelerate the development of Open Network technologies, which helps in diversifying our strategic technology growth.”

Hatem Bamatraf
Hatem Bamatraf
CTO – Etisalat Group

“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. I am excited about this partnership that will foster a diverse and secure 4G/5G ecosystem based on Open RAN solutions. This is also a testimony to Etisalat’s commitment and leadership in innovation in the ICT sector and development and adoption of Open RAN ensuring the best network experience for our customers.”

“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,” noted Mr. Nawaf Al Gharabally, Chief technology officer of Zain Group.

The introduction of Open RAN, virtualization, and automation will enable a fundamental shift in the way operators to manage networks and deliver services. The operators will be able to add or shift capacity more quickly for end-users, automatically resolve network incidents or provide enterprise-level services on-demand for the industry.

Mr. Alaa Malki, Chief technology officer at Mobily commented, “The implementation of Open RAN solutions supports the flexibility and provides more innovation in managing the network for more efficient operations. Mobily is willing to exert all efforts for the success of this partnership and forge several partnerships that push forward the development and innovation in the ICT sector.”

“Driving innovation and Open RAN deployment is the shared responsibility of every telco operator. At du, we are committed to working with our regional counterparts, which will enable us to create further value by increasing infrastructure flexibility and efficiency while accelerating technology adaption and network expansion across the UAE,” concluded Mr. Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief technology officer at du.

Related: Zain secures prestigious World Finance “Best Corporate Government Award 2021” for Kuwait