Verizon announced today that it has deployed more than 130,000 open RAN (Radio Access Network) capable radios, including massive MIMO radios.
Those devices are part of the previously announced 15,000 O-RAN compliant virtualized cell sites with O-RAN compliant baseband units on Verizon’s commercial radio access network.
According to Verizon, O-RAN promises a wide range of benefits designed to introduce new competition and innovation into the RAN ecosystem, including better deployment flexibility, faster innovation in an open environment, and greater service options.
Verizon said it “has undertaken a massive multi-year enhancement of its network architecture” to consolidate, simplify, and modernize its core and access networks, with virtualization and orchestration as key components.
The company also noted that the move to O-RAN and “a cloud native, container-based, virtualized architecture has led to more flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability, and significant cost efficiency.”
Early in 2019 Verizon announced it was planning to virtualize the core network with a cloud-native, containerized architecture. In 2020, the company said it had achieved fully virtualized baseband functions. According to the company, virtualizing the baseband is “the heaviest portion of computing on the radio access network.”
Verizon said it has been “aggressively deploying” the virtualized baseband functionality throughout the network.
“Verizon is fully supportive of O-RAN technology and is focused on commercializing an operationally sound O-RAN architecture,” Adam Koeppe, Verizon senior vice president of technology planning, said in a prepared statement.
“Our commitment to developing O-RAN standards and to deploying compliant equipment in our active Radio Access Network is helping to drive the industry forward which will result in a variety of tangible benefits for our customers who expect leading-edge technology from Verizon.”