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Mavenir slams Nokia and Ericsson for confusing the OpenRAN story

Mavenir’s SVP of business development John Baker and CMO Stefano Cantarelli

We caught up with Mavenir at Mobile World Congress to discuss the current state of OpenRAN, and it had some choice words to say about the approaches of kit vendors Nokia and Ericsson.

We asked Mavenir’s SVP of business development John Baker and CMO Stefano Cantarelli to gauge how industry is feeling towards the technology, now that it has been allowed to gather together for the first time in years and discuss such things.

“Clearly the train has left the station, there’s a lot of buzz about OpenRAN – it’s back to the haves and have nots,” Baker told us. “I see a lot of interest from operators and a lot of interest from the component suppliers. But on the other side of it, about [Nokia’s recent statement about OpenRAN] – they’re full of it. Because they’re a startup in OpenRAN themselves but are not doing anything. They’re trying to pass on a message that the OpenRAN community is confused, that there are no real OpenRAN players out there, and they’re trying to position themselves as the real OpenRAN player. Digging underneath that, we’re having to call out the Nokia’s and Ericsson’s for confusing the story and trying to keep the confusion running around the marketplace, about the status of OpenRAN.”

“Ericsson has been clear right up front that [they’re] not going to participate in OpenRAN. They name their products at Cloud RAN but you can’t mix and match, so they don’t they don’t meet the OpenRAN requirements. I stand very firm that unless you’ve got two suppliers interworked, then you haven’t got OpenRAN.”

Baker didn’t mince his words with regards to how he sees Nokia’s strategy either: “We’ve been asking for the last two years, every month almost, we’re ready to interwork, when are you ready? And they never get there. So our view is Nokia doesn’t have anything, they’re just trying to protect an old silicon strategy. And that’s their problem. They’ve had two failed attempts, in my opinion, of their silicon strategy – first time they got it completely wrong. Second time they got it too late for the industry because software is now replacing where they are with silicon. I think at the end of the day those two logos are going to disappear in the distance.”

Cantarelli added: “I think Ericsson and Nokia are not stupid. They know OpenRAN is the future, it’s just at the beginning they didn’t think about it, and now they’re a bit late. So they’re protecting their legacy. And they’re waiting for when they’re going to be ready, so it’s purely a delaying technique.”

Nokia and Ericsson would of course phrase their own positions towards OpenRAN differently to the above, but it does serve to again highlight what is perhaps something of a divide within the telecoms industry – some clearly think OpenRAN is inevitable, immediate, and of singular importance, and others perhaps don’t think it will be as seismically disruptive as all that, and least not right now. It’s good then that MWC is in full swing, and the industry is able to get together once more and argue the toss face to face, albeit separated by covid masks.


8 comments

  1. Avatar Lexus 01/03/2022 @ 4:46 pm

    Mavenir, it is indeed a pity that you didn’t get straight access to the know-how developed by others. You should know that the word “Open” does not mean that in this context. There are specifications for that – tell us why the others should interwork with you? Everyone has to do their own job. All the best, though.

  2. Avatar wondering about Mavenir ... 02/03/2022 @ 3:08 pm

    Mavenir, is there nothing else for you to talk about – rather than complaining about other industry players … e.g. case studies on successful deployments in commercial service, happy customers and the like ? – backing up some of your marketing claims …

  3. Avatar Darko 02/03/2022 @ 3:13 pm

    The whole article have notion of Mavenir frustration. Doesn’t say much about Mavenir strong point on OpenRAN (I’m doubting now if they have any) but just throwing poison on the rivals that obviously are performing better and that frustrates Mavenir. Mavenir will not get far like this.

  4. Avatar Rodolfo Di Muro 02/03/2022 @ 5:19 pm

    Open RAN has been controversial and have different perspective. What matter is the CSP pushing as the big players have already made clear the direction towards this new architecture. Will be more focus in building the Edge with unique orchestrator from Computing and Telecom, at that time the integration, testing, security and integrability issues will be mitigated.

  5. Avatar Elon 02/03/2022 @ 5:32 pm

    Saying OpenRAN is the future is like saying Tesla electric cars suck so we should get old tech like fossil fuel engine and mix all the components with BMW, Audi, Toyota, and etc. Does anyone think cars would be made cheaper or perform better if you make an “open” standard to mix and match? 😂

  6. Avatar LOL-Ran alliance 02/03/2022 @ 10:23 pm

    Standing at the sideline without any customers seems to be very frustrating for the mavenir crew – they should grow up instead of blaming others.

  7. Avatar Open 04/03/2022 @ 3:53 am

    It always depends how you define open standard. Would you be happy if you need to buy audi tires, audi trailer, and trailer only able to carry audi equipment. Or that each car would work completely different and require own driving license. Or that you would not be able resell your car and be stuck with the car whatever happens.

  8. Avatar Senko 04/03/2022 @ 9:50 pm

    Thank you Elon. Right on the money. There isn’t and it shouldn’t be a concept of Open at all. If we learn anything from experiences with Telcos is that they’ve tried to capture the margins from network vendors, and tried to make “white box” like open ecosystem; and all of them failed and returned to buying from vendors again. Similarly with OpenRAN, whoever thinks they can make something open, they’ve never built a complex end-to-end system of interworking elements. Open comes with the cost … there is no free lunch. So either you build it per spec and QA it properly (like vendors do) – and we pay them; or you try to build it yourself (open) and fail as you cannot make it work. Interoperable is different than Open, and no one says all of the gear should be simply plug and play. There is a lots of QA effort that goes into Plug and Play and someone has to pay for it. It’s obvious Mavenir has nothing to offer. Build your own end-to-end 5G portfolio and compete with likes of Nokia and Ericsson. Don’t just make the screw and try to tell TollBrothers how to build their homes.

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