Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Private) Limited (“Hutch”) and its infrastructure partner edotco Services Lanka (Private) Limited (edotco) have launched an Open-RAN trial in order to further reduce the ‘cost of GB data’, and thereby passing the cost benefit to its customers. The trial Open-RAN site was deployed at Polatthapitya in the Kurunegala District.
Traditional mobile radio networks were supplied by a single vendor in a region or specific technology such as 3G or 4G. Both the hardware and software had to be procured from the same vendor as ‘closed proprietary system” limiting vendor choices and negotiating power.
‘Open Radio Access Network’, commonly known as O-RAN or OPEN-RAN is a concept which promotes the separation of mobile radio network hardware and software and thereby has the potential to improve network flexibility and reduce cost by being able to introduce separate and multiple vendors into the network. O-RAN, one of the latest technologies being developed by many global telecom giants, promises lower overall cost structures to deploy 4G and future 5G services.
The trial will be carried out using edotco’s multi-purpose- lamp- pole site, which is a small-cell antennae enabled telecommunication infrastructure known to facilitate seamless connectivity at both urban and rural settings. Edotco currently operates a solid infrastructure network of 500 multi-purpose lamp pole sites.
With the launch of this innovative project, the Chief Executive Officer of Hutch, Mr. Thirukumar Nadarasa said “Hutch is today embraced by customers as the most affordable data service provider whilst delivering a superior broadband data experience over an advanced 4G network of over 2400 sites nationwide. We are pleased to initiate this pilot project with our partner edotco which promises to deliver enhanced cost benefits. Deployment of initiatives like Open- RAN must not merely be for the sake of deploying the latest technology but should focus on enhancing lives of people! The effort taken by edotco as the end to end infrastructure and solution integration partner for this project is most commendable.”
Commenting on the partnership, Mr Gayan Koralage, Country Managing Director of edotco, said, “The O-RAN trial opens up huge opportunities for the country’s telecommunication connectivity, and we are very pleased to work with Hutch in this first trial. All our 500 multi-purpose lamp pole sites available nationwide are enabled to provide O-RAN solutions. As an independent telecommunications infrastructure enabler, we are excited to partner with any interested parties to help widen their connectivity and achieve cost optimization, which eventually helps improve their network availability and price to its customers.”
Mr Koralage further added that the effect of COVID-19 and activities post the pandemic have shifted the growth of network traffic to residential areas as people are working and schooling from home. It is timely for the industry players to join efforts in exploring cheaper solutions to help accelerate coverage and capacity to cater to the increased demand while providing quality and affordable connectivity to all citizens.