TechAfrica News

by Editorial Team

Parallel Wireless and Etisalat partner for OpenRAN Implementation in Afghanistan

Parallel Wireless announced its partnership with Etisalat to deliver the world’s first cloud-native O-RAN compliant 5G 4G 3G 2G Open RAN solutions, in collaboration with Intel and Supermicro, becoming the first in Central Asia to implement Open RAN.

Afghanistan has seen a strong increase in mobile broadband with penetration reaching 22% in 2019 up from 1% in 2013. While mobile broadband is still in its early stages of development, growth is expected in 2022.

“The combination of Open RAN, virtualization, and automation will enable Etisalat to meet the needs of our customers most cost-effectively in Central Asia. Being able to use an Open RAN system will help us not only extend our initial investment, but also bring new services much faster. Parallel Wireless together with Intel and Supermicro have become true strategic partners and key enablers in undertaking this Open RAN implementation.”

Hatem Bamatraf, Chief Technology Officer-International, Etisalat Group

Mobile network operators in Central Asia are facing strong pressure to evolve their businesses and operations to drive profitability. Addressing these challenges requires industry innovation focused on reducing CAPEX and OPEX and opening the networks to avoid any vendor lock-in. Traditional hardware-defined 2G, 3G or 4G networks require expensive and bulky equipment to deploy, operate or upgrade.  

Open RAN solutions are now ready for prime time as Parallel Wireless Open RAN solution is delivering proof points of performance, quality of service, and cost benefits on six continents. Parallel Wireless is also leading with innovation in Open RAN, including the world’s first network architecture that unifies all mobile connectivity standards – 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G– under the same software and cloud-native umbrella. 

“We are pleased to be working with Etisalat, Parallel Wireless, and Intel to enable an open ecosystem of disaggregated RAN solutions using vendor-neutral RAN hardware and software-defined technology based on open interfaces and community-developed standards.”

Jeff Sharpe, Director Edge/5G Solutions, Supermicro

In Afghanistan, Parallel Wireless is innovating with ecosystem partners to deliver:

  • Easy scale-out and hardware decoupling to provide mobile operators with greater agility, resilience, and portability across cloud environments for greater total cost of ownership (TCO) savings. 
  • The Open RAN radio hardware ecosystem provides Remote Radio Units (RRUs) that will allow Etisalat to replace legacy 2G/3G/4G systems with white box solutions that can be upgraded to 5G in the future.
  • Intel’s 3rd Gen Intel Xeon scalable processors delivered in Supermicro’s servers bring a future-ready architecture for a Distributed Unit (DU) and a Central Unit (CU), deployed at the network’s edge. The virtual Baseband Unit (vBBU) resources can be shared among multiple RRUs on-site in multi-carrier 1-sector, 3-sector, or 6-sector configurations to achieve optimal resource pooling for TCO savings.

“In collaboration with the ecosystem partners, Parallel Wireless aims to make the RAN more open and flexible. While there is significant innovation happening, there are considerable gaps and challenges that make it difficult to deploy end-to-end Open RAN solutions, putting a heavy burden back on operators. We believe it is the ideal time to align and collaborate to solve the key challenges to deliver innovative RAN solutions that are ready for commercial deployment. Implementing our world’s leading O-RAN compliant software platform will allow Etisalat to enable new services to be deployed quickly, seamlessly, and more reliably.”

Amrit Heer, Director of Sales, Parallel Wireless

Etisalat’s strategic goal is to build and grow wireless networks to provide next-generation digital services to its customers in the region. Working in collaboration with Parallel Wireless, Intel, and Supermicro, this can be achieved by:

  • assembling viable solutions that build on an open and modular architecture; 
  • improving service agility through cloudification; and
  • reducing operational costs across geographically distributed sites with automation.

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