And Europe’s Big 5 (i.e., Deutsche Telekom, Orange, TIM, Telefónica, Vodafone) open RAN coordinated push may not be enough to keep the momentum going. You wanted Huawei out, now you have it and let’s give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar! This is what’s happening with Ericsson in Europe, grabbing each RAN footprint acquired by Huawei more than a decade ago, one by one. In our April 12, 2021 Perspective entitled “Ericsson Devours Huawei’s European RAN Footprint,” we analyzed the pace at which Ericsson was winning back its longtime customers, now we have the full picture and can take a look at what it means for open RAN.
Overall, only Switzerland continues to use Huawei and the European market is down to only 2 major vendors, Ericsson and Nokia, and the emergence of Samsung in a few spots. Consequently, the move from Huawei to Ericsson changes nothing about opening the RAN interfaces and is just RAN business as usual: RAN vendor lock in! In addition, Ericsson has just raised the high RAN performance bar to a new level that open RAN needs to match. In fact, Ericsson’s view on open RAN is crystal clear: standard body 3GPP handles the RAN architecture evolution in an open community that includes a broad ecosystem of vendors, which all contribute to the development of standards, including open interfaces. Ericsson said 3GPP had about 100 open interfaces so far.
In its 1Q21 Networks briefing (May 5, 2021), Ericsson provided a chart that perfectly reflects its rising dominance and signals the rapid formation of a substantial traditional RAN and transport footprint across Europe. On the transport side, this is not good news for disaggregated cell site gateways!