Google signs up to O-RAN telecommunications alliance

The telecoms community is focused on promoting interoperable and intelligent networks worldwide.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Google has joined the O-RAN Alliance as part of the company's overall strategy in the 5G and telecommunications space. 

Announced on Monday, Google Cloud MD Amol Phadke and senior director Ankur Jain said that joining the global group will allow Google to "jointly drive and accelerate" Radio Access Network (RAN) industry initiatives. 

Founded in 2018 by AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, and Orange, the O-RAN Alliance includes telecoms vendors, researchers, and mobile network operators working in the RAN space. 

The alliance's aim is to "re-shape the RAN industry towards more intelligent, open, virtualized and fully interoperable mobile networks" by introducing global standards that can be used for RAN deployments. 

By joining the group, Google intends to contribute toward these standards and innovation in the industry. 

"We believe that industry-wide open reference architectures and interfaces for RAN are key to driving innovation across CSP mobile networks -- with the O-RAN Alliance driving significant advances in the RAN layer and already gaining traction with a number of large CSPs who have become early adopters of the standard," Google says. 

Specifically, Google will work on O-RAN initiatives in software, 5G, hybrid and multi-cloud environments, as well as network-based artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. 

"We're excited by the journey that lies ahead and look forward to partnering with alliance members to help drive the O-RAN ambitions from vision into reality," Google says. 

Google published its Global Mobile Edge Cloud (GMEC) strategy in March 2020. Google Cloud is now focused on three areas: the monetization of 5G networks -- especially in relation to business services and solutions -- data-driven customer experiences, and the improvement of operational efficiency across critical telecommunications systems. 

"Many of these offer significant opportunities for business transformation, and that's why we're excited to collaborate with leading telecoms, partners, and customers to help transform the industry together and create better overall experiences for users around the world," Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud CEO, said at the time. 

Google is far from the only technology vendor exploring the business potential of next-generation telecoms networking. In June, IBM announced a deal with Verizon and Telefonica to provide hybrid cloud services for the purposes of expanding 5G and mobile edge deployments. 

Big Blue also launched IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation, a platform suitable for enterprise players intent on launching 5G networks. 

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