It looks like U.S.-based Mavenir Systems, which is making a name for itself trying to disrupt the Radio Access Network (RAN) space, will be visiting the White House as part of a 5G summit next month.
Mavenir confirmed to FierceWireless that it was invited to both the 5G Summit at the White House on April 1 and the FCC’s Forum on 5G Virtualized Radio Access Networks on March 26. Mavenir CEO Pardeep Kohli will represent the company at the 5G White House summit while John Baker, SVP, will attend the FCC forum.
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said during a Fox Business interview last month that the Trump White House would hold a 5G summit probably sometime in early April. Kudlow said it would be attended by the big carriers—AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint—as well as vendors like Intel, Cisco and Qualcomm, and he alluded to “some smaller American startups” without naming names.
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Mavenir, with headquarters in Richardson, Texas, is positioning itself as an ideal candidate for replacing equipment from big vendors based outside the U.S. It boasts that it is the only U.S.-headquartered end-to-end mobile network software provider for LTE and 5G, and while it does not make its own radios, it says it doesn't need to do so—as the 5G ecosystem develops, it will use off-the-shelf radios from multiple vendors.
A lot of talk has been focused on how U.S.-based companies can get into the 5G action as China’s Huawei is deemed a national security threat. Last week the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Secure Trusted Telecommunications Networks Act, which requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a $1 billion fund to help smaller telecom providers rip out and replace equipment from companies considered national security threats, namely Huawei and ZTE.
Many Tier 2 and 3 mobile network operators (MNOs) in the U.S. relied on Huawei gear, but now that they have to replace that equipment. Mavenir is suggesting they avoid making a similar mistake the second time around, and think about replacing their systems with those of a non-proprietary nature.
In previous wireless generations, the option for open systems wasn’t available. Now that times are changing, these operators should consider using new equipment based on open systems, Kohli told Fierce in an interview. An operator can still decide to buy all of its equipment from one vendor, but if it’s based on open interfaces, it can mix and match and it will all work together.
The three largest vendors serving mobile operators globally are Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia. While all three use open interfaces for the core, none of them use open interfaces for the RAN, Mavenir told the FCC in a filing last month (PDF).
“By opening up the RAN interfaces, greater technical innovation, price competition as well as new service and business models will occur, allowing the MNOs to redefine network economics,” the company wrote. “Jobs will also be created within the MNO and vendor community as they recruit the missing skills that over the last 15+ years have been lost to the three major vendors.”
Last week, Mavenir was part of the launch of the Evenstar Remote Radio Head (RRH), in collaboration with Facebook Connectivity, MTI, Deutsche Telekom and others. The goal of the program is to accelerate the adoption of Open RAN technology.
RRHs, distribution units and control unit software traditionally have been available only as a packaged unit, limiting opportunities to serve suburban and rural locations. By decoupling these components, the Evenstar program is expected to enable mobile network operators to choose best-in-class technology and deploy solutions from an increasing number of technology partners.
Ahead of a hearing on 5G supply chain security, Kohli told Fierce that Mavenir is working with many partners, and its RRUs will complement RRUs from its partners to complete the portfolio. It will have this open-interface portfolio finished before the end of the year.