All the major U.S. operators are exploring their virtualized RAN (vRAN) options. T-Mobile is exploring a vRAN architecture but added that the 5G network doesn’t have to be uniform and operators could have vRAN in some parts of the network and traditional RAN in other parts.
John Baker, senior vice president of Mavenir, said that operators are going to use a mix of both traditional RAN and vRAN because no one wants to rip out existing gear that is working. “Operators will live with that [traditional RAN] architecture for some time,” Baker said.
However, he added that at a certain point it will become easier for operators to upgrade to vRAN so they can more easily deploy features throughout their network. “We will see that shift, and you will see the core equipment come to life,” he added.