The US, UK, Canada and Australia outlined a joint position on efforts to diversify the telecommunications supply chain, backing principles around open RAN and calling on industry to avoid fragmentation of the market.

In a statement signed by the partners’ relevant government agencies, they reiterated commitments to supply chain security and resilience in the telecoms sector, policies frequently reiterated since the US started its campaign against Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.

“Collectively, we recognise that open and interoperable architectures are one way of creating a more open, diverse and innovative market,” the quartet added, pointing to a need to foster a diverse supply chain and influence future technologies such as 6G.

The latest pact comprises pledges to share information among themselves; take a complementary approach to R&D; ensure open RAN systems are secure; encourage transparency in industry-led standards-setting processes; push the avoidance of market fragmentation; and seek support from other international stakeholders.

Outlining the aim to avoid fragmentation in the open RAN market, the partners called for industry to focus on “the smallest possible number of options for disaggregation which still allows the neutral implementation of secure and performant networks”.

The partners stated this includes a “focus on developing the necessary number of specifications, splits, standards and standards bodies to promote interoperability and security, without unduly limiting market-based innovation”.

They added there is a desire to avoid “islands of interoperability only between partnered vendors, systems integrators and hardware suppliers”.

Canada, Australia and the UK have been among the most vocal nations in their support for supply chain diversity and measures against vendors deemed a security risk.

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