Orange Spain has taken a lead role, in conjunction with firms like HPE, Casa Systems, Mavenir and Dell Technologies, in launching Open RAN nodes attached to a cloud-native 5G SA core network. This pilot endeavor aimed to demonstrate the synergistic strengths of Open RAN and 5G SA networks.

According to company announcement, the pilot project was successful in achieving sub-one-hour network deployment, aided substantially by the automation capabilities brought by these modern technologies. Moreover, the initiative also showcased the potential for dynamic administration of end-to-end virtual networks and enhanced energy efficiency.

This implementation is a significant stride towards reaffirming Orange Spain’s technological superiority in the network sector. This status was first earned in February 2023 when it became the first operator in Spain to publicly introduce its 5G SA mobile network, thereby enriching its commitment to virtualizing networks.

Monica Sala, Network Director at Orange Spain, said, “OpenRAN’s innovative approach aligns perfectly with Orange’s commitment to deliver cutting-edge solutions for the benefit of our customers.” Alexis Salas, Director of Engineering at Orange Spain, echoed the sentiment and emphasized that this pilot has been fruitful for gaining critical insights, which will feed their vision of delivering a smarter, more efficient grid.

However, it is essential to note there is often an enthusiastic tone when discussing matters relating to Open RAN. The advantages, such as cost savings, faster deployment, and increased vendor competitiveness, are often pointed out as pivotal factors in favor of this approach.

Yet, it typically remains uncertain what extent these are true. A more concrete assessment could potentially be instrumental in influencing decisions by operators. However, a certain level of cautious optimism is necessary when reading too much into public accolades related to Open RAN, as it’s sometimes challenging to separate fact from fanfare.

Despite the upbeat tone, the broader market outlook presents a mixed picture. According to analyst firm Dell’Oro, both Open RAN and vRAN revenues declined in Q2 2023, marking the first-time revenues have slipped for these sectors.