Even though they are competitors in the open radio access network (RAN) arena, Altiostar and Mavenir are going to work together to create a portfolio of radios for the United States wireless market.
Both companies are active in the O-RAN Alliance, the Open RAN Policy Coalition and TIP. And they have been making headlines in the industry for their technologies that disaggregate RAN software from the hardware.
In today’s news, they say they’ll be supporting the development of new radios through third party original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The radios will be based on open RAN interfaces and will address the spectrum frequencies of Tier-1 and regional operators in the U.S. They aim to have a complete set of radios in the market by the first quarter of 2021.
John Baker, SVP of business development with Mavenir, said in an email to FierceWireless, “We are working with multiple radio manufacturers at this time and are not able to disclose the venders. The source of supply will be open to all open RAN participants, including the operators to buy directly if they wish.”
Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Altiostar Networks, said in a statement. “Our collaboration with Mavenir on open RAN radios will ensure operators in the U.S. have a truly open end-to-end infrastructure that will be cost effective.”
And Pardeep Kohli, president and CEO of Mavenir, said, “Our radios will have O-RAN compliant interfaces and will interwork with other vendors’ solutions.”
OEM radio vendors
While Altiostar and Mavenir are not naming their OEM vendors, there’s a movement within the U.S. open RAN ecosystem to tap unknown, virtually invisible, radio makers. Sachin Katti, co-chair of the O-RAN Alliance Technical Steering Committee, alluded to this recently.
Katti said efforts through the O-RAN Alliance and TIP are providing new opportunities for contract manufacturers such as MTI, which have historically been invisible because they build radio hardware for bigger vendors such as Ericsson and Nokia. “They have RF IP, and now they’re seeing an opportunity to sell directly to operators rather than to a traditional channel like Ericsson and Nokia,” said Katti.
Steve Papa, CEO of Parallel Wireless, another open RAN upstart vendor, said his company is working with the OEM GigaTera - a company that designs radios in Los Angeles. Papa said, “They used to be called Korea Micro Wave (KMW). They’ve been designing radios for the North American market for over a decade. We’ve been working with them for over five years.”
Papa said RF is a very specialized skill set. He said in the wireless industry the big traditional vendors have historically blocked the ability of smaller radio companies to work directly with operators. But now, with all the trade wars with China and the supply chain disruptions from COVID-19, the open RAN vendors are seizing the day to bring new radio vendors into the market.
Mavenir and Altiostar say their radios will support the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act that was signed into law on March 12, 2020.