Mavenir pockets another $100 million to ramp up brownfield Open RAN effort

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Network software specialist Mavenir has raised another chunk of change to help maintain Open RAN momentum.

The US-based company has been championing disaggregated mobile infrastructure for years, and has made significant inroads that lend credibility to this new architecture, securing greenfield network deals with the likes of Dish in the US and 1&1 in Germany, for example.

More recently, Mavenir has been gaining traction with telcos that want – or need, due to anti-Huawei policies – to replace their existing RAN equipment, and are keen to transition to a cloud-native, multi-vendor environment. Recent highlights include Deutsche Telekom and Virgin Media O2.

This is a bigger challenge, according to Mavenir CEO Pardeep Kohli, who explained in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday that brownfield deployments often involve the replacement of a well-entrenched supplier that has been in place for multiple generations of mobile technology.

“For a new vendor to come in, the operator has to swap [the] existing vendor for all equipment generations. As the complexity and the cost increases, there is a huge entry cost for a new vendor and as a result this whole market is largely static if we ignore swaps due to geopolitical issues,” he said. “With our balance sheet, financing existing vendor swaps and the working capital is a difficult proposition.”

Mavenir is betting on Open RAN’s support for artificial intelligence and automation to help it overcome these hurdles. Kohli explained that as mobile subscriber growth tails off, operators find it harder to justify – again, taking Huawei temporarily out of the equation – the expense of entirely swapping out one supplier for another.

“With declining growth, operators will have to learn how to mix and match vendors within a geography,” he said.

To make this multi-vendor environment all hang together properly, Kohli said telcos need Open RAN, AI and automation.

“Enabling multi-vendor operation while supporting all capabilities possible with [a] traditional RAN, will allow operators to leverage equipment from new vendors and provide innovative solutions that deliver higher network performance. This is good for new players and the existing players, who can gain market share with innovation and better performance without complete regional swaps,” he said. “If there is extra capacity needed in downtown, an operator can bring in [a] new vendor without requiring [a] swap of all sites in the whole city or a state.”

Turning this vision into a reality costs money though, and as Kohli pointed out earlier this year, Mavenir has already spent $500 million on RAN R&D to date. This is where the $100 million announced this week will come in handy.

The funding was led by Mavenir’s majority shareholder, private equity firm Siris, as well as what Mavenir describes as two “highly strategic ecosystem partners.” The names of these two were not divulged, and given how many ecosystem partners Mavenir has, it is quite hard to speculate about who they might be.

“This new capital will allow us to accelerate our capabilities in automation, sustainability, and use of AI as we enable our customers to efficiently deploy and operate open RAN based end-to-end cloud-native networks,” said Kohli, in a separate statement.

“Importantly, this investment enables Mavenir to further scale its business and maintain its leadership in open RAN and 5G transformation,” added Mavenir chairman and Siris executive partner Hubert de Pesquidoux. “We firmly believe in the automated networks of the future that are cloud-native, AI-native and green-native, and we are confident that Mavenir’s innovations are essential in driving that evolution.”


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  • Open RAN Ecosystem

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