VMware and Intel are helping Deutsche Telekom to create a virtual radio access network (vRAN) platform, based on O-RAN standards for both existing LTE and future 5G networks. The parties are currently undergoing testing and validation at Deutsche Telekom’s headquarters in Bonn, Germany.
“As the traditional RAN becomes the open RAN, we need to accelerate the development of scalable high-performance open RAN solutions,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP of strategy and technology innovation with Deutsche Telekom, in a statement. “Our collaboration with VMware and Intel aims to address scalability and related economics for vRAN macro layer deployment.”
The solution for DT uses Intel processors and Intel’s FlexRAN software reference platform to run vRAN workloads on top of VMware’s telco cloud platform. DT will also use VMware’s pre-standard, near real-time RAN Intelligent Controller that will adopt O-RAN open interfaces with some enhancements.
In addition to VMware and Intel, Deutsche Telekom is also working with other key partners Cohere Technologies and Mavenir.
On VMware’s fiscal Q4 2020 earnings call Thursday, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger mentioned the announcement with DT and Intel, saying it “brings the power of virtualization to radio access networks for both existing LTE and future 5G networks. We believe this effort is a key milestone in transforming the telecom industry toward a software-defined approach.”
Gelsinger had just gotten back from Europe, where he had met with some top service providers. “It was like Mobile World Congress on tour,” he said.
Both VMware and its majority owner Dell Technologies are eyeing the wireless ecosystem. Dell Technologies CTO John Roese told FierceWireless this week that Dell is working with Vodafone, AT&T and Orange, helping them virtualize their cores and making them run more like data centers.
On yesterday’s call, Gelsinger said VMware is also seeing more success within the telco market, working with companies including Vodafone, which he said “has become a very strategic partner.” And he mentioned relationships with Telia, Singtel and Telstra.
In addition Gelsinger said, “We're pleased to be working with Rogers, a leading Canadian technology and media company to help enable their core network expansion and automation efforts, using VMware's telco cloud solution.”