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Open and Transparent Way towards Open RAN by the O-RAN ALLIANCE

The O-RAN ALLIANCE (O-RAN) was formed in 2018 by uniting two earlier organizations covering different parts of the world – US based xRAN Foundation and China based C-RAN. The resulting global synergy has enabled rapid progress, accomplishing more in less time than the two earlier organizations could have done separately, while avoiding the risk of fragmentation of specifications.

O-RAN ALLIANCE was founded by 5 major operators: AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO and Orange. In three years, the O-RAN ALLIANCE has grown to a world-wide community of more than 300 operators, vendors and research and academic institutions jointly developing a sustainable O-RAN ecosystem. The 30 Mobile Network Operators in O-RAN serve over 4,5 Billion subscribers around the world.

O-RAN ALLIANCE created a diverse and open organization, with active participation and contributions from operators, large established system suppliers, new emerging suppliers, components suppliers, service suppliers, system integrators, test equipment suppliers, academic and research institutions. O-RAN participants also include companies from adjacent industries like the IT industry and hyperscalers that can supply new capabilities to enrich and enhance the effectiveness of Radio Access Networks (RAN).

Transforming the Radio Access Networks Industry towards Open, Intelligent, Virtualized and Fully Interoperable RAN

The O-RAN ALLIANCE is committed to its objectives of creating specifications to enable a global, competitive, and highly innovative ecosystem that will supply smart, open, secure, innovative, and interoperable components for 3GPP compliant Radio Access Networks. This will benefit the mobile industry, and in turn the global economy, by enabling more effective and efficient mobile communications.

Defining the complex O-RAN Architecture and interfaces follows a step-by-step process resulting in hundreds of technical documents. O-RAN’s collection of heterogeneous participants from across the globe work together in technical Work Groups, bringing contributions to develop specifications through a consensus-driven process.

To ensure compatibility and to avoid duplication of work, O-RAN’s technical work builds on existing specifications and standards. O-RAN has established relationships with a wide range of other industry bodies.

O-RAN specifications can serve as a basis for implementations of proprietary modules or open software designs. The O-RAN Software Community, hosted by the Linux Foundation, creates open source reference design software that is consistent with O-RAN specifications by bringing together developers from a variety of companies who cooperate across a range of open software projects.

In addition, O-RAN ALLIANCE supports the ecosystem in testing and integration. O-RAN global plugfests allow companies to demonstrate component functionality as well as multi-vendor interoperability. Moreover, the Open Testing and Integration Centers (OTIC) around the world offer a collaborative and impartial testing environment.

Open and Transparent

O-RAN ALLIANCE was established as a German entity in August 2018 and its governance and operation is described in its membership documents. As described in its constitution, O-RAN is governed by a board of directors consisting of up to 15 of its members. The board makes decisions by consensus, or by a majority or 2/3 majority vote. No member has veto power.

O-RAN focuses on technical aspects of the RAN and is not a lobbying or policy influencing organization. O-RAN does not engage in any political, governmental or regulatory activities in any region or country.

All O-RAN participants can access and make technical contributions to any of the O-RAN Work Groups or Focus Groups. At all levels of working and governance, O-RAN ALLIANCE always strives for consensus. All O-RAN companies can participate in the consensus process.

Open and Unified Specifications towards Open RAN

O-RAN ALLIANCE defines open, intelligent, virtualized and fully interoperable RAN. O-RAN specifications and open software are enabling a broad industry ecosystem. Companies of different sizes and competencies around the world can use them to create their innovative and competitive open solutions.