The application of Open RAN (O-RAN) networks is gaining popularity worldwide, offering plenty of opportunities for Taiwan-based makers to tap into the niche market by optimizing their capabilities in the manufacture of semiconductor and electronics products.
The impetus pushing forward to using O-RAN networks in Europe comes after Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Orange signed an MoU in mid-January to promote the O-RAN. Telecom Italia also joined the initiation in early February.
The initiation, which also calls for support from the EU and other governments, aims to build a local O-RAN industry supply chain and an ecosystem that will include testing laboratories and demonstration fields to incubate innovative O-RAN applications.
Most European telecom players favor releasing relevant orders to established telecom equipment suppliers and 5G software companies through biddings, and therefore, Taiwan's O-RAN device makers may cut into related supply chains by cooperating with telecom equipment providers, Digitimes Research believes.
There is already an established O-RAN supply chain in the US. The supply chain players include: RAN software providers Altiostar and Mavenir; cloud platform management firms Red Hat and VMWare; and hardware and software system provider Cisco Systems. They also include chipmakers Intel, Xilinx and Nvidia as well as cloud operators such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
By optimizing their manufacturing capabilities, Taiwan's firms can complement US firms to realize related product development and solutions.
In Asia, NTT Docomo is teaming up with NEC and Fujitsu to tap the enterprise private O-RAN network market.
The NTT Docomo team is tying up with Thailand-based AIS and a number of Japan-based firms to form a 5G Global Solution Consortium (5GEC) to promote the use of O-RAN and related 5G applications by Thailand's manufacturing and construction firms initially.
Taiwan's firms can cooperate with the 5GEC to help build enterprise private O-RAN networks, optimizing Taiwan's large-scale manufacturing capacity and its digital application technology and Japan's expertise in high-precision machinery, components and materials.