open RAN

Mavenir registers open RAN hardware win against Huawei

It's no secret that Mavenir has been working to ride the open RAN trend to new customer wins among mobile network operators around the world.

But the company's latest victory is noteworthy for a number of reasons, including how it positions Mavenir to cash in on almost $2 billion in US government subsidies.

As reported by FierceWireless, Mavenir is providing both the hardware and the software for the 4G LTE – and 5G-ready – fixed wireless network from Montana's Triangle Communications. Triangle is replacing its Huawei network with a Mavenir network under the FCC's ongoing "rip and replace" program. That $1.9 billion program is designed to replace equipment supplied by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE – dubbed a threat to national security by the US government – with equipment from "trusted" suppliers.

Triangle and Mavenir did not disclose the value of their new deal, but the companies said Triangle's core network swap-out is underway and that work on the radio access network (RAN) would stretch into next year.

Perhaps the most noteworthy element in Mavenir's deal with Triangle is that it encompasses both the company's hardware and software. As Light Reading reported last year, Mavenir entered the RAN hardware business in order to complement its existing software offerings.

The development highlights both the widening opportunities in the mobile infrastructure market driven by the open RAN (radio access network) trend, as well as the complexities generated by a technology designed to separate wireless networks into discrete, swappable components.

Mavenir last year described its new open RAN hardware strategy as an attempt to "break the incumbent's monopoly in the global market." But the company's efforts also highlight the complexity of the open RAN market considering open RAN technologies are intended to allow operators to mix and match equipment from a variety of vendors rather than buying everything from one source.

For its part, Triangle is hoping its embrace of open RAN and Mavenir will give it more options rather than fewer. The company told the FCC that its tests showed open RAN equipment was "competitively priced and fully functional compared to legacy vendors' equipment options which lock you into always using their equipment."

Indeed, the FCC recently updated its wireless network pricing catalogue to show that some elements of open RAN technology are officially less expensive than traditional RAN products. The agency updated its pricing partly at the insistence of Mavenir.

More broadly, Mavenir's deal with Triangle represents a milepost in the federal government's efforts to tear Chinese vendors out of US networks. The FCC for years has been working on the parameters of a program that could ultimately allocate billions of dollars to US network operators so they remove Huawei and ZTE equipment from their networks. As a result, vendors ranging from Mavenir to Nokia are salivating at the prospect of getting a piece of those replacement sales.

Thus, Mavenir's deal with Triangle could pave the way for the vendor to score additional "rip and replace" deals as the FCC's program gathers speed later this year.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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