Movistar, IBM Deploy Live Open RAN in South America

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In order to continue accelerating the digitization of the country, Movistar has deployed the first mobile communication network in South America based on Open RAN technology, covering 81,000 inhabitants in the city of Puerto Madryn, in Chubut. IBM has led the systems integration, bringing together components and systems from multiple software and hardware vendors – including Altiostar, Red Hat, Quanta, Gigatera and Kontron, pre-integrating the solution and enabling its end-to-end deployment.

Open RAN is the most advanced radio access network technology, allowing interoperability that turns the radio network into an open cloud environment in which multiple providers can participate to generate a better and more efficient service network. Open RAN is growing in use across the region and is also being validated in Germany and the United Kingdom.

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“We are experiencing the future of mobile networks with Open RAN technology. For Movistar, it is essential to evolve the network architecture towards an open Telco Cloud model based on an open ecosystem of providers, which allows generating a solid base to develop, in the future, the deployment of 5G and, at the same time, incorporate innovative services hand in hand with small companies that can use the greater accessibility of open technology,” said Adrian Di Meo, Movistar Technology Director.

What is “Open RAN”?

Open RAN stands for Open Radio Access Network (RAN), it is an open access network that connects a device (cell phone, tablet or computer) with the main infrastructure network, wirelessly. These networks combine software and hardware from an open ecosystem of providers to facilitate faster innovation and adoption of differential services for our customers.

The Open RAN system has two fundamental principles:

Use of open interfaces: The Open RAN standards will allow operators to introduce new and advanced services and customize the network as necessary. The presence of an open ecosystem will allow greater dynamism in the incorporation of functionalities and differential services for our clients.

Open RAN technology will be key both for coverage in rural or sparsely populated areas as well as for areas with higher traffic density. The presence of an open network ecosystem will facilitate greater digitization in line with the New Digital Pact promoted by the company.

Bringing more intelligence to the network: in a digital environment, where the network becomes more complex, with Open RAN, operators can add intelligence, adapt software to different services and automate operations.

“Telecommunications operators are experiencing a new era of innovation through emerging technologies such as Open RAN, and an open approach is key to speeding this digital transformation across the industry,” said Roberto Alexander, General Manager, IBM Argentina. “IBM’s cloud technology and best-in-class system integration capabilities align to the choice and flexibility needs of the industry as mobile operators embrace Open RAN. IBM has helped Movistar implement a world-class, open, scalable and secure solution, to further speed how it captures the enormous market value of Open RAN, not only in Argentina, but ultimately across the entire region in the future.”