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SCF and O-RAN ALLIANCE Strengthen Collaboration towards Open and Intelligent Radio Access Networks

  • Expanded scope of cooperation includes requirements, workplans, development of 5G/6G-(n)FAPI interface specification, disaggregated architectures, RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) interactions, management solutions, test & verification, and reference implementations.

BONN, Germany and LONDON, Feb. 14, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The O-RAN ALLIANCE (O-RAN) and SCF (Small Cell Forum) have announced the expansion of their collaboration through a comprehensive Cooperation Agreement. This agreement extends the longstanding partnership between the two global organizations, marked by shared membership and a commitment to advancing open and interoperable Radio Access Network (RAN) technologies.

SCF’s mission is to support interoperability and ensure architectural and supplier choice across a range of scalable infrastructure for an evolving ecosystem of service providers and network deployers.

The O-RAN ALLIANCE’s mission is to re-shape the RAN industry towards more intelligent, open, virtualized and fully interoperable mobile networks. To achieve this, the O-RAN ALLIANCE publishes new RAN specifications, releases open software for the RAN, and supports the O-RAN ecosystem in integration, testing and certification of their implementations.

The new agreement between the two organizations formalizes the expanded scope, addressing key areas of collaboration, including: requirements, workplans, development of 5G/6G-(n)FAPI interface specification, disaggregated architectures, RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) interactions, management solutions, test & verification, and reference implementations.

Near-term technical goals under the agreement include the continued alignment of specifications and the development of management solutions for Split-6 (FAPI/nFAPI) RAN.

Looking ahead, the organizations aim to tackle longer-term technical goals, including the development of reference implementations and integrated test and verification processes.

Prabhakar Chitrapu, The SCF Chair, said: “We look forward to leveraging our joint expertise to drive innovation and advancement within the Open-RAN industry. The updated Cooperation Agreement marks a significant step towards fostering an environment of shared knowledge and collaboration for the benefit of the entire Open RAN ecosystem.”

“Through its specifications, the O-RAN ALLIANCE effort sets the foundation for the industry to develop open and intelligent RAN solutions for present and future network generations,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, Chair of the Board of O-RAN ALLIANCE and SVP Group Technology, Deutsche Telekom. “Industry alignment is essential to ensure consistency and to avoid fragmentation or duplication of efforts. Close cooperation between the O-RAN ALLIANCE and SCF greatly supports specification development and activities to accelerate commercialization of small-cell open RAN solutions.”

About Small Cell Forum

SCF (Small Cell Forum) is a global trade organization with a simple and vital mission: to bring regulation and technology together and ensure they’re both fit-for-purpose for future-proof service delivery. SCF members include service providers (both MNOs and ‘alternative deployers’ such as neutral hosts, towercos and private network operators) and equipment and software vendors. In collaboration with its members and the wider industry SCF is developing strategic and practical solutions that address real-world challenges in the telecoms eco-system.

About O-RAN ALLIANCE

The O-RAN ALLIANCE is a world-wide community of more than 300 mobile operators, vendors, and research & academic institutions operating in the Radio Access Network (RAN) industry. As the RAN is an essential part of any mobile network, the O-RAN ALLIANCE’s mission is to re-shape the industry towards more intelligent, open, virtualized and fully interoperable mobile networks. The new O-RAN specifications enable a more competitive and vibrant RAN supplier ecosystem with faster innovation to improve user experience. O-RAN based mobile networks at the same time improve the efficiency of RAN deployments as well as operations by mobile operators. To achieve this, the O-RAN ALLIANCE publishes new RAN specifications, releases open software for the RAN, and supports its members in integration and testing of their implementations. For more information, please visit www.o-ran.org.