What does Open RAN mean for spectrum?
May 13, 2021 by Toby Youell

Blog

This week Parallel Wireless announced it will build a 4G Open-RAN network in Colombia using the 700 MHz band.

The announcement adds to growing momentum behind the approach, as operators hope it will allow them to build better, safer, and cheaper mobile networks.

As we set out in our Research Note Open RAN implications for spectrum strategies and government policies, initial deployments in India, Japan, and the US are using several frequency bands across the spectrum from 600 MHz to mmWaves.

The Open RAN movement is essentially spectrum agnostic. But that does not mean it has nothing to do with spectrum.

For example, like mobile networks in general, Open RAN benefits from the assignment of large amounts of spectrum with permissive technical conditions.

The trend may also help the deployment of more local networks, such as those used in factories or ports. Regulators that have set up up local licensing frameworks in various frequency bands may feel vindicated.

Some regulators, such as in India and the US, are also adopting various policies to promote the technology. In time, these may impact spectrum policy decisions too.

The Research Note is available as part of an Open RAN Dossier, available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers here.