NEC launches North American innovation hub for O-RAN
NEC Advanced Networks will drive developments in the radio unit business in an intial phase, with a focus on spectrum optimization and AI/ML-based massive MIMO products
NEC has created a North American 5G “innovation unit” in New Providence, New Jersey, with the aim of expanding product development.
In a release, NEC also said that the new facility will enable the company to cater to the growing global demand for Open RAN solutions. The new entity, dubbed NEC Advanced Networks, was born out of the company’s acquisition of Blue Danube Systems earlier this year and “provides a critical base of operations for the company’s product innovations and solutions delivery activities,” the company said.
“We know that the demand for Open RAN-compliant networks and solutions is going to continue growing, We have aggressive plans to deliver Open RAN solutions all over the world – and bulking up our presence in North America helps customers by increasing our footprint in the Western Hemisphere and expanding our reach by leveraging the robust talent pool at our disposal,” said Rahul Chandra, head of the new unit.
NEC Advanced Networks will “drive developments in the radio unit business” in an initial phase, with a focus on “spectrum optimization and AI/ML-based massive MIMO products,” NEC said.
“Adding resources in the Eastern U.S. helps us serve our customers better and work closely with our ecosystem partners. It also provides us a stable platform to build from as demand for Open RAN-compliant products and solutions grows exponentially over the coming years,” Chandra added.
Mayuko Tatewaki, NEC’s SVP for 5G strategy and business, said: “NEC aims to be a global leader in Open RAN 5G and we’ve recently made significant progress, building off several important project wins with Tier 1 operators in Europe, including key achievements with Orange and Virgin Mobile O2.”
“As the Open RAN market rapidly grows, we need to expand our presence to achieve global goals. The industry shift to Open RAN is a large undertaking – given our focus on providing solutions and system integration services, creating a home base for Open RAN 5G resources in the US will help us better serve the global market,” Tatewaki added.
Earlier this year, NEC increased its capacity to deliver end-to-end Open RAN ecosystems with the acquisition of Irish firm Aspire Technology. Aspire Technology was a specialized system integration (SI) company which provided solutions and services across 2G to 5G for legacy and open architectures.
The Japanese company noted that the addition of Aspire strengthened NEC’s SI offering for Open RAN 5G applications, which require an increased level of systems design and integration when compared with legacy ecosystems.
Additionally, in February, NEC announced it had expanded its open RAN Radio Units (O-RUs) portfolio with the introduction of several new products and configurations. The company said that the 18 new RU products complement NEC’s existing portfolio to help meet the demands of private and public mobile networks that would drive Open RAN initiatives during 2022.
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