Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco) has signed an Open RAN (Radio Access Network) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aimed at increasing momentum for the technology and its solutions in the region, alongside other leading Middle East Operators.
According to the principal telecommunications company in Bahrain, the other signatories to the MOU are Etisalat Group, Saudi Telecom Company STC, Zain Group, Mobily, du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), and Omantel.
The MoU between the seven operators serves to confirm their joint commitment to deploy open RAN across their footprint, providing an opportunity to traditional RAN vendors to adopt open interfaces, software, and hardware that will support the building of more agile and flexible mobile networks in the 4G and 5G era.
The introduction of open RAN, virtualisation, and automation will enable a fundamental change in the way operators manage networks and deliver services, said the Bahrain-headquartered telco.
As per the pact, the first Open RAN centralised test lab has been established in the Middle East region, with the support of TIP (Telecom Infra Project) and Intel. The lab will provide a platform for the signatories to work together on achieving their common goal of deploying open and unified technologies into their networks, helping to meet the ever-growing demand for high bandwidth, low latency, and advanced connectivity that can deliver the best online experience to businesses and consumers.
Batelco pointed out that through sharing industry knowledge and experience, the operators plan to set a clear path to drive innovation for the ICT sector across the Middle East while driving cost efficiencies and customer mobile experience. The lab will provide shared facilities and access to the most innovative Intel technologies for members and vendors and serve to catalyse OpenRAN deployments.
Batelco General Manager Networks, Rashid Mohamed said, “This collaboration and alignment on OpenRAN is a milestone for the telecommunications ecosystem in the Middle East. It will create a more competitive and robust supply chain, leading to faster 5G deployment, network efficiencies, opportunities for new technology vendors, and unlock advanced services for customers.”
“Regional collaborations on Open RAN development, such as this Middle East MoU and The European MoU, an agreement signed by five European telcos, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, TIM and Vodafone, with similar aims, are key to drive the success of the technology and realise its full potential,” Rashid added.