Parallel Wireless scores Open RAN deal with Cellcom

Parallel Wireless
Parallel Wireless says one of the benefits of its system is the ease of installing and maintaining the Converged Wireless System. (Parallel Wireless)

Parallel Wireless is touting its ability to serve all the “Gs,” announcing that it was selected by Cellcom to supply its Open RAN solution as part of Cellcom’s network expansion in the Midwest.

In a statement to FierceWireless, Cellcom said it’s adding Parallel Wireless to its vendor portfolio to enhance service in its existing footprint and for an initial, noncommercial deployment in an area where it maintains spectrum licenses. But the company declined to provide any other specifics.

A subsidiary of Nsight, Cellcom provides service to customers in Wisconsin and Michigan. In October, the company partnered with Ericsson to host a 5G demo in Green Bay, at which time CEO Mark Naze said the company is building the path to 5G, deploying 5G-ready radios and installing fiber to carry the increased data traffic.

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Generally speaking, Parallel Wireless is seeing a lot of interest from Tier 2 and 3 operators that need to keep up with their bigger nationwide roaming partners, according to Eugina Jordan, vice president of marketing at Parallel Wireless. The vendor also has a deal with Carolina West, and Jordan said she hopes to be able to make more announcements around Mobile World Congress 2019.

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There’s also a big need to provide for all the “Gs,” including 2G, she said, referencing a comment at a conference where a Vodafone executive stressed the need for a software defined network that can “do any G,” from 2G to 4G and 5G.

Parallel Wireless, which was named a Fierce 15 startup in 2015, has been making a name for itself in the Open RAN movement. It's involved in the Facebook-led Telecom Infrastructure Project and was named, along with Mavenir and Altiostar, as vendors in the Open RAN pilots that Telefónica and Vodafone are doing; each were deemed as having the most compliant end-to-end platforms. Jordan added, however, that Parallel is the only vendor that can do “all the Gs.”

Implementing open vRAN is sort of like shopping for the store brand, she said. Instead of buying a well-known, higher priced brand, the consumer can buy the store-branded version of a product and save money while getting the same quality as a big-name brand. It’s the same for open RAN, which uses intelligent software to manage the white boxes and make them smart. Instead of buying expensive gear from the legacy infrastructure vendors, operators can use smaller vendors and mix and match. 

Parallel Wireless says it offers a unique, low cost, low footprint and virtualized multitechnology solution to help service providers deliver coverage by making deployments easy and affordable to install and maintain—as easy and cost-effective as deploying Wi-Fi.

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Sprint announced the opening of a TIP Community Lab in Overland Park, Kansas, where it hopes to further the development of OpenRAN 5G NR solutions.

Vodafone plans to issue a request for quotes for open RAN technology for its entire European footprint of more than 100,000 sites.

AT&T's Igal Elbaz also talked about dynamic spectrum sharing and the economic challenge of 5G fixed wireless.