When the hype surrounding Open RAN technology began some three years ago, Telecom Review was excited to highlight all the issues — both the good and the bad. Here we are in 2023, and the back-and-forth has surfaced once again.

So why does the Open RAN debate continue?

As several years have now passed since the initial Open RAN deployments, telecom operators have learned several valuable lessons, including that Open RAN might indeed save money but may not be the smoothest path to take.

The reason for this is that operators have put their network security at risk for the sake of savings, whether in CAPEX or OPEX. There have been numerous incidents related to multiple vendors getting involved in Open RAN, but many operators are unwilling to acknowledge these issues. Problems related to network security delays or crashes, worries about financial transactions, conflicts between hardware and software suppliers, and content issues are just a few examples of these occurrences.

This has led to a wide range of services being threatened in numerous locations across North America, the Middle East and Asia, particularly in areas with minimal Open RAN implementation.

Although a single RAN may cost you more, it does offer the advantage of being able to hold someone accountable on their end, including fixes to any problems that arise.

I'm looking forward to MWC 2023, as it will once again bring the Open RAN debates to the forefront, highlighting the positions taken by operators and their best assurances of being cost-effective without compromising on technology.

It is my sincere hope that we will look at the issues of Open RAN, not only in terms of costs but also with the determination to tackle concerns that most stakeholders have been able to avoid until now.

The time has come for us to determine whether Open RAN is presenting more opportunities or more challenges to the telecom industry today.

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