Nokia Europe SVP Jan van Tetering backed the industry to overcome additional network complexities associated with open RAN and make its adoption a reality, though conceded it was too early to tell if the approach would become mainstream.

In an interview with Mobile World Live, van Tetering said use of the architecture was unstoppable, though the jury was still out on when or how much it would be deployed by operators despite wide support.

However, in the Nokia executive’s bullish assessment of the prospects for open RAN, he pointed to backing from various governments, operators and the vendor itself, noting it would “definitely become a tool they [operators] can use in the radio across their footprint”.

Nokia has made various moves to solidify its position in the new ecosystem, with membership of various open RAN industry groups and participation in operator trials, which have been vital in assessing the qualities and potential issues with open RAN.

“There is extra complexity in open RAN architecture compared to the current classical architecture,” van Tetering noted. “We spent a lot of time getting that complexity understood and managed. This is why we see a lot of trials going on, trying to understand what the added value will be and trying to get the ecosystems up and running.”

While authorities in some markets have been pushing open RAN as a way to diversify the number of vendors used by operators, especially where Huawei equipment is being removed, van Tetering emphasised his view Nokia saw development of the architecture as a positive.

“I would sound arrogant if I said there would be no change” to Nokia’s business. “Open RAN is an evolution in technology and as a technology company we have to embrace it. The future will tell if we have embraced it in the right way to address customer needs.”

“As a tech company we are not afraid of evolution or technology disruptions, in fact we are also disrupting as we are moving forward.”

“I believe that our customers, in the end, will buy into the most performant and secure vendor, which they trust and I think Nokia ticks a lot of these boxes going forward.”

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