We cover both NTT’s Open RAN ad in the WSJ and AT&T’s selection of Ericsson as their primary Open RAN vendor:
I. This NTT-WSJ ad was a huge shock to me as I did not expect NTT to be so optimistic about Open RAN deployments as it would cannibalize their existing 3G/4G/5G RAN. Here’s the copy/paste of the WSJ advertisement:
Allowing mobile network operators to share network integration costs and enabling interoperation between different vendors’ cellular network equipment are just two of the revolutionary benefits driving O-RAN’s adoption worldwide. As a pioneer in this ecosystem, Japanese operator NTT Docomo has established the OREX brand to deliver its O-RAN solution to mobile users anticipating the instantaneous communication that 6G will bring.
Innovating the Future of Connectivity:
The expanding O-RAN universe consists of more than 300 mobile operators, vendors and academic and research institutions worldwide. With consumer 5G connections alone predicted to reach 2 billion by 2025—doubling from 1 billion in 2022—and 6G technology in sight, further adoption of O-RAN plays a vital role in the future of global connectivity. As a co-founder of the global O-RAN alliance, Japanese operator NTT DOCOMO is one of the innovators transforming mobile connectivity through open, intelligent and interoperable mobile networks.
What is O-RAN?
An open-ended, non-proprietary version of the Radio Access Network (RAN) system used for mobile networks, O-RAN stands for open radio access network (Open RAN) and is an ecosystem and architecture for flexible networks capable of leveraging 5G—and beyond—wireless communications. Using radio waves to connect users (consumer or business) to the mobile network, it allows interoperation between different vendors’ cellular network equipment. It is also a connector for accessing key web applications. Whereas RAN technology currently comes as a single-vendor hardware- and software-integrated architecture, O-RAN is a multi-supplier solution that can disaggregate hardware and software with open interfaces and virtualization.
What Are the Business Benefits?
Put simply, O-RAN reduces the total cost and increases the flexibility of network ownership for the benefit of consumers and enterprises that use sensors, smartphones and similar remote wireless devices. A clear alternative to vendor lock-in, the sharing of network integration costs among a number of mobile network operators—instead of that cost being shouldered by a single operator—makes it more competitive. As well as increased connectivity for vendors and network operators, O-RAN offers greater accessibility, technological flexibility, supply-chain diversity, and scalable mobile networks. New features are introduced quickly via software, reducing maintenance time while also making further innovation and greater competition possible. NTT Docomo’s OREX has been established to deliver its O-RAN solution, providing robust support for international operators and a customized user experience.
Opening up Mobile Networks:
The global O-RAN alliance is expanding as the technology matures. Adoption is growing fastest in North America and Asia Pacific, where there is high data consumption, rising demand for high-speed data and the integration of AI and cloud computing. These two regions are predicted to dominate the global market over the next five years. In Europe, both Germany and the U.K. have established initiatives to develop and support their solutions. Leading telecom companies in the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy are developing O-RAN technology, as are two of India’s three major operators. More prospective markets exist in Asia, Africa and South America.
The Journey to 6G:
Designed to make cloud computing and the mobile internet ubiquitous, 6G-enabled technologies will greatly impact business when commercially available around 2030. Potentially 100 times faster than 5G, 6G is the next-generation technology that will enable lightning-speed device connections and O-RAN technology has the flexibility to adopt it. 6G will transform how companies communicate, process information, train employees and much more. NTT Docomo is leveraging the knowledge gained from its unique experience in building mobile networks with multiple equipment vendors since the 4G era, and its OREX offering integrates the strengths of 13 partners including Dell, Intel, Fujitsu, and others to offer a strong value proposition for the global shift to O-RAN.
II.AT&T said Open RAN will cover 70% of its wireless traffic in the United States by late 2026. Beginning in 2025, the company will scale this Open RAN environment throughout its wireless network in coordination with multiple suppliers such as Corning Incorporated, Dell Technologies, Ericsson, Fujitsu, and Intel.
“AT&T is taking the lead in open platform sourcing in our wireless network,” said Chris Sambar, Executive Vice President, AT&T Network. “With this collaboration, we will open up radio access networks, drive innovation, spur competition and connect more Americans with 5G and fiber. We are pleased that Ericsson shares our support for Open RAN and the possibilities this creates for American digital infrastructure.”
“High-performance and differentiated networks will be the foundation for the next step in digitalization. I am excited about this future and happy to see our long-term partner, AT&T, choosing Ericsson for this strategic industry shift – moving to open, cloud-based and programmable networks. Through this shift, and with open interfaces and open APIs, the industry will see new performance-based business models, creating new ways for operators to monetize the network. We are truly proud to be partnering with AT&T in the industrialization of Open RAN and help accelerate digital transformation in the U.S.,” said Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson.
AT&T will use this new collaboration with Ericsson to enhance its wireless network in North America and expand the most reliable 5G network.1 The expected spend under the Ericsson contract is below what the company expects to spend for wireless capital expenditure over the next 5 years. Given the interdependence between fiber and wireless, and the increasing desire for customers to have one connectivity provider across fixed broadband and wireless, the company sees economically attractive opportunities to expand its fiber footprint in the coming years as well.
Sony and NTT are teaming up to develop a remote broadcast production platform that combines Sony’s video production products with NTT’s large-capacity, low-latency, wide-area network. The partnership aims to improve the customer experience by providing more content, such as content distribution at local stadiums and live music venues, which we have not been able to deliver due to cost.
The goal of this collaboration is to create a remote production platform that will:
- Reduce the costs associated with owning, operating and maintaining broadcasting equipment
- Expand video services
- Improve the customer experience
Playing a central role is NTT’s All-Photonics Network, a component of IOWN that incorporates new optical technologies at every level, from networks to devices, and even inside chips, to enable ultra-low power consumption, ultra-high-speed processing.
NTT’s IOWN—which is backed by companies including Sony, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco and others is being designed to enable ultra-high capacity (data processing of 125 times greater than networks today by volume), ultra-low latency (end-to-end latency reduced by over 200 times) and ultra-low power consumption (100 times more efficiency than transmissions today).
NTT released a new white paper highlighting the development of “Inclusive Core” architecture for the 6G/IOWN era. This architecture incorporates concepts such as In-Network Computing and Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) into the core network, reducing terminal processing load and protecting privacy for services used over the network. [Read the Full Release]
1. Background and purpose of the agreement
To achieve digital transformation of content production, broadcasters are gradually introducing IP compatible devices in order to develop flexible production and distribution environments for broadcasting facilities. In particular, when IP-enabled equipment is installed in a wide area, it is necessary to maintain a network that does not fluctuate in delays between sites to support efficient facility operation.
Considering this background, we will accelerate our research into technologies that combine Sony’s video production products and solutions with NTT’s large-capacity, low-latency, wide-area network. By forming a remote production platform, we aim to reduce the cost of owning, operating, and maintaining broadcasting equipment and improve the customer experience by expanding video services.
Figure 1 Formation image of the remote production platform
2. Technical elements of each company
Sony has set forth the concept of the next generation of broadcasting stations, in which the broadcasting facilities of each station are converted to IP and the cloud. Toward this realization, we will provide the next generation live production solutions, Networked Live . Networked Live leverages resources on-premises, in the cloud, and in multiple locations to streamline workflows, provide agility and flexibility, and deliver high-quality live production. Mainly for broadcasters, we offer a range of products, including solutions for managing network resources en masse, switchers using on-premises cloud systems, codecs for efficient network bandwidth for media transmission, and support for remote production.
The technology development of the IOWN APN  enables the transparent transmission of IP capable devices over optical layer path connections via multi-device/multi-protocol. In addition, the ultra-high-capacity and end to end optical path connection enables 4K/8K class video communications to be communicated with low delay using uncompressed and lightly compressed transmission technology. Furthermore, communication without delay fluctuation enables high-quality synchronization between IP compatible devices using PTP . In addition, we are aiming for an architecture that realizes strict availability requirements for video editing through high-speed line switching with optical path redundancy.
Figure 2. Research directions toward large-capacity wireless transmission
Source: NTT Technical Review (May 2019), “Toward Terabit-class Wireless Transmission: OAM Multiplexing Technology” https://www.ntt-review.jp/archive/ntttechnical.php?contents=ntr201905fa5.pdf&mode=show_pdf
3. Main areas of cooperation and collaboration
- Study on establishment and management of network environment using IOWN and Networked Live
- Study on technology and environment construction for IOWN and Networked Live
- Study on IOWN and Networked Live compared to existing networked systems
- Study on extending environments based on future IOWN and Networked Live capabilities
Under this agreement, the two sides will cooperate to discuss the formation of a wide-area remote production platform while exchanging information and opinions on matters to be promoted together with the parties concerned in the cooperative agreement.
For details on “Networked Live,” visit: https://www.sony.jp/nxl/about/
IOWN (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network) is a network and information processing infrastructure including terminals that can provide high-speed, large-capacity communications and vast computational resources utilizing innovative technologies, including light. The IOWN consists of three main components: the APN (All Photonics Network), which enables not only networks but also terminal processing; the DTC (Digital Twin Computing), which enables advanced and real-time interaction between objects and humans in cyberspace; and the Cognitive Foundation, which efficiently deploys various ICT resources including these. IOWN will contribute to the realization of a prosperous society by creating a variety of services and new value in a wide range of fields, not only in the telecommunications field. For details, visit: https://www.rd.ntt/e/iown/
PTP (Precision Time Protocol) is a technology that achieves time synchronization with high precision. A time stamp is embedded in a dedicated time synchronization packet, and this packet is exchanged between systems to synchronize both times.
NTT contributes to a sustainable society through the power of innovation. We are a leading global technology company providing services to consumers and business as a mobile operator, infrastructure, networks, applications, and consulting provider. Our offerings include digital business consulting, managed application services, workplace and cloud solutions, data center and edge computing, all supported by our deep global industry expertise. We are over $95B in revenue and 330,000 employees, with $3.6B in annual R&D investments. Our operations span across 80+ countries and regions, allowing us to serve clients in over 190 of them. We serve over 75% of Fortune Global 100 companies, thousands of other enterprise and government clients and millions of consumers.
NTT to offer optical technology-based next-generation network services under IOWN initiative; 6G to follow
NTT and Cisco have teamed up to launch a suite of repeatable IoT solutions that can be sold as a managed service. The partnership brings together NTT’s edge infrastructure, managed services, and IT systems integration expertise and Cisco’s IoT capabilities. Together, they promise to offer IoT services that encompass real-time data insights, enhanced security, improved decision-making, and reduced operational costs through predictive maintenance, asset tracking, and supply chain management.
NTT and Cisco are targeting opportunities in the manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and utility sectors, where they claim there is growing demand for edge computing and IoT solutions. The team has already begun working with Belgian public water distribution utility, Compagnie Intercommunale Liégeoise des Eaux (CISE). CISE has deployed thousands of LoRaWAN sensors on its infrastructure, giving it the visibility it needs to improve efficiency in the areas of water quality, consumption, distribution, and maintenance. It’s being delivered as a managed service by NTT and Cisco.
“We are accelerating our IoT business initiatives to deliver a powerful portfolio of repeatable services that can be tailored to meet customer demand for these kinds of solutions,” said Devin Yaung, SVP of group enterprise IoT products and services at NTT, in a statement. “We’re doubling down on NTT’s IoT capabilities to meet customer demand,” said Yaung. “What we’re doing is pulling together our collective knowledge and skillsets, and putting the full power of NTT behind it, to better service our customers and the increasing need to outfit or retrofit their organisations with the connectivity and visibility they need to improve day-to-day business operations.”
“We are excited to work together to help transition our customers to this IoT-as-a-service model so they can quickly realise the business benefits across industries and around the globe,” added Samuel Pasquier, VP of product management, industrial IoT networking, at Cisco.
According to IoT Analytics, global enterprise IoT spending is expected to grow 19% to $238 billion in 2023, up from $201 billion in 2022. By 2027, it could reach as high as $483 billion.
NTT Corp has unveiled a plan to invest JPY8 trillion ($59 billion) in growth businesses over the next five years. The core of its new growth will be its self-developed IOWN concept. The Japanese telecom giant is aiming to lift EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) from JPY3.3 trillion ($24.3 billion) today to JPY4.0 trillion ($29.5 billion) in 2027.
The IOWN (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network) is an initiative for networks and information processing infrastructure including terminals that can provide high-speed, high-capacity communication utilizing innovative technology focused on optics, as well as tremendous computational resources. This is done in order to overcome the limitations of existing infrastructure with innovative technologies, optimize the individual with the whole based on all available information, and create a rich society that is tolerant of diversity. We have started R&D with the aim of finalizing specifications in 2024 and realizing the initiative in 2030.
IOWN consists of the following three major technical fields:
- APN: All-Photonics Network
Major improvement to information processing infrastructure potential
- DTC: Digital Twin Computing
A new world of services and applications
- CF: Cognitive Foundation®
Optimal harmonization of all ICT resources
A key concept is Photonic Disaggregated Computing – a new computing architecture that makes the shift from traditional server box-oriented computing infrastructure to boxless computing infrastructure, building on photonics-based data transmission paths.
By enabling each module, such as memory and AI computing devices, with photonic I / O (Input / Output) and connecting modules with a high-capacity and high-speed photonic data network, photonic disaggregated computing achieves highly flexible computing infrastructure. By dynamically combining modules according to computing demand, it also dramatically improves performance. Using NTT’s optoelectronic integration technology, the inter-package and inter-chip data transmission process can be replaced with photonics even inside of modules, while also dramatically improving energy efficiency.
By including data-centric computing technology and photonic disaggregated computing technology into the IOWN concept, we will accelerate creation of a natural cyber space in the era of the Smart World.
For example, AI control done by transmitting a large volume of data with low latency can realize system control that goes beyond the limits of human perception and reflexes. By coordinating a vast number of AI systems, NTT says they can realize overall optimization on the scale of society, as well as prediction of the future through large-scale simulations.
Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) said it will start providing its first services under an optical technology-based next-generation network initiative to its corporate clients. The major Japanese telecommunications company plans to start offering the services from March 16 for a monthly fee of 1.98 million yen through its regional arms Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corp. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corp.
NTT rival telco KDDI Corp. will also take part in the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) initiative which was first announced by NTT in 2019. It’s goal is to reduce electricity consumption (power) and achieve high-capacity communication by converting electric signals into optical ones to cope with surging network traffic. It will join the IOWN Global Forum, comprising over 100 members including NTT and many information technology companies in and outside Japan. Founding IOWN members are NTT, Sony and Intel. The forum will be discussing technical specifications for optical and wireless networks with a view to developing an international standard for 6G communications.
Source: IOWN Global Forum
The two Japanese rival firms will work together to make IOWN a 6G platform, pundits said. That’s amazing as all previous IMT standards (3G, 4G, 5G) were developed by 3GPP and then ITU-R WP 5D.
At a news conference, NTT Senior Executive Vice President Katsuhiko Kawazoe said: “We hope [IOWN] will help resolve social issues and create new value.”
NTT plans to announce the second round of IOWN services as early as 2025.
Japan’s NTT has launched IoT Services for Sustainability, a new stack of products designed to help businesses advance progress against global sustainability initiatives and make data-driven decisions to reduce their carbon footprint through the intelligent use of IoT connectivity. These products include OCR Meter Reading, Water Leak Management, Predictive Maintenance and Environmental Monitoring.
- OCR Meter Reading is an on optical-based meter reader to provide near real-time data from any type of meter including water, electricity, and gas. The meter can also be used to read any type of gauge including pressure and temperature.
- The Water Leak Management technology provides real-time, IoT-enabled protection against water damage for smart spaces projects.
- The Predictive Maintenance platform collects data from sensors to create models that predict when events of interest might occur, including potential downtime, accidents or when something might need to be replaced.
- The Environmental Monitoring technology uses sensors to identify the presence of pollutants in the air and water as well as tracking temperature and humidity.
NTT’s IoT Services for Sustainability stack incorporates an IT/OT integration and support. This helps organizations to quickly see the benefits of the technology across the entire business following deployment. Benefits include energy cost savings, faster reduction in emissions, advanced operational excellence, and better work enablement across the organization. The stack of products is also supported by NTT’s new LoRaWAN network, and its catalog of sensors to measure, monitor and collect data to drive sustainability objectives.
“IoT technologies are an essential tool in the global fight against climate change,” said Jeff Merritt, Head of Urban Transformation at the World Economic Forum. “We know what actions are needed to build a more sustainable future and have a robust suite of technologies available to help deliver this impact. As the world looks to accelerate the implementation of these solutions, organizations like NTT will have a critical role to play in helping companies and governments capitalize on this opportunity,” he added.
This announcement follows the appointment of two industry veterans to drive growth and momentum across NTT’s IoT and sustainability initiatives. Wireless industry leader Devin Yaung has been appointed as SVP of Group Enterprise IoT Products and Services, NTT, bringing over 25 years of technology experience focused on business transformation. Vicky Bullivant has also been appointed as SVP, Group Sustainability, NTT, Bullivant has 25 years of creating and delivering successful sustainability, social, climate and ESG strategies that underpin commercial objectives in fast-paced and evolving business environments.
“Almost two-thirds (61.4%) of CEOs say they’re aligning business strategies to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Yet only 2 out of 5 businesses have the solutions needed to meet the organization’s immediate objectives,” said Devin Yaung, SVP of Group Enterprise IoT Products and Services.
“Therefore, it is more critical than ever to prioritize and deliver sustainability solutions for our enterprise customers. Our new stack of solutions will help organizations reach their sustainability goals and improve operations across their business, whether it is reducing waste from manufacturing defects or understanding the carbon footprint of their supply chain. The use of IoT will empower businesses to make decisions in real-time, streamlining processes and transforming the overall sustainability of their business. We’re proud to be announcing this offering at such a critical time, and we look forward to driving change alongside our clients to create a more sustainable future.”
About NTT Ltd.
NTT Ltd. is a leading, global technology services company. To help our clients achieve their digital transformation goals, we use our global capabilities, expertise, and full-stack technology services delivered through our integrated services platform. As their long-term strategic partner, we help them enhance customer and employee experience, transform their cloud strategy, modernize their networks and strengthen their cybersecurity. And across their transformation priorities, we automate their business processes and IT, drawing insights and analytics from their core business data. As a global ICT provider, we employ more than 50,000 people across 57 countries, trading in 73 countries and delivering services in over 200 countries and regions. Together we enable the connected future.
Visit us at services.global.ntt
NTT today announced the launch of its Private 5G platform (P5G), the first globally available private LTE/5G Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform. The Japanese company states that NTT P5G will enable Chief Information Officers and Chief Digital Officers leverage the benefits of private 5G (?) to solve business problems and innovate to keep pace with the future of enterprise.
NTT says that their Private 5G platform provides a suite of services built to help Chief Information Officers and Chief Digital Officers drive business outcomes and unlock innovative business models that drive the future of enterprise across industries.
- NTT Private 5G platform offers a single end-to-end management and service creation platform with global visibility, eliminating friction and increasing ROI.
- NTT Private 5G is purpose-built to solve enterprise business challenges with a platform that goes beyond connectivity, providing security, device and edge management, application development, big data analytics and deep back-office integration.
- Wireless industry leader Shahid Ahmed joins NTT as EVP of New Ventures and Innovation to pioneer the Private 5G service portfolio and accelerate ecosystem collaboration.
Running on a cloud-native architecture, the platform can be delivered via cloud, on-premises, or at the edge. The platform is pre-integrated with leading network and software partners (unnamed), allowing enterprises to secure, scale and segment their network flexibly. With patent-pending MicroSlicing™ technology (?), NTT P5G allows mission-critical apps to leverage the advantages of private 5G.
Fueling enterprise digital transformation with cloud-based economics and automation is at the heart of NTT’s vision for private 5G. NTT is focused on driving the global acceleration of private 5G to meet the fast-evolving needs of enterprises across industries, including automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail to create unprecedented alignment of data, connectivity, security, and communications. NTT is the only provider that offers a best-in-class global network, deep vertical expertise, and a full suite of application development and management capabilities.
“As a key partner in our digital transformation journey, NTT has an impressive track record of building and supporting new technologies that help CXOs solve critical business challenges,” said Javier Polit, Chief Information & Global Digital Services Officer of Mondelēz International. “NTT’s unique approach to Private 5G offerings provides the kind of agility and insight that we will need to further accelerate our business.”
NTT appointed wireless industry leader Shahid Ahmed as EVP of New Ventures and Innovation to pioneer the Private 5G service portfolio, drive digital transformation outcomes for clients, and deepen ecosystem collaboration.
Shahid Ahmed, NTT EVP of New Ventures and Innovation
Shahid brings over 25 years of technology experience focused on business transformation, including key leadership roles at Accenture, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and Sprint. In addition, he is an appointed advisor to the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
“Global enterprises are looking for a single private 5G solution to deploy across multiple countries. They need one truly private network, one point of accountability, one management platform, and one solution partner that eliminates all the major friction points across the entire global footprint of the enterprise,” said Shahid Ahmed, NTT Ltd. EVP New Ventures and Innovation. “Our NTT P5G offering supports many of the CXO requirements today, and we will continue to invest in P5G as enterprise adoption evolves.”
“The private 5G technology has the potential to fundamentally change the way enterprises drive digital transformation,” said Ghassan Abdo, Research Vice President at IDC. “NTT has a strong track record of focusing on breadth of service, and NTT P5G capabilities extend far beyond basic connectivity to offer a comprehensive suite of services geared toward important business outcomes.”
“As data and mobility become more critical to business operations, 5G will enable enterprises to reinvent business operations. With faster speeds and more data, 5G will facilitate advances in artificial intelligence, automation, and IoT,” said Eric Clark, NTT Data Services North America Chief Digital and Strategy Officer. “How a company collects, stores, and uses that data in real-time will be critical to success, and NTT is well positioned to guide our clients on this journey.”
NTT group companies are jointly accelerating the adoption of open and virtualized 5G solutions globally in collaboration with ecosystem stakeholder. The company says this comprehensive approach enables NTT to provide a full suite of digital transformation services (undefined).
Names of partner companies were not disclosed. The only reference was that NTT P5G was “pre-integrated with leading network and software partners.”
Mondelēz International, with a presence in over 150 countries, is a customer (see above quote), but it was unclear whether they were an active user of NTT P5G and, if so, in which countries.
No other customers were announced or quoted, although the Cologne Bonn Airport said in May that they had “partnered with NTT to develop a wholly private 5G mobile network across its 1,000 hectares premises. Under this joint research and cooperation project, the duo will work on technological innovations, including border control and intelligent luggage checking. The aim of the collaboration is to enhance the operational efficiency of the airport.
Finally, NTT’s “patent-pending MicroSlicing technology,” was not defined other than it “allows mission-critical apps to leverage the advantages of private 5G.”
In conclusion, NTT needs to produce case studies which demonstrate the benefits that P5G brings to enterprise customers, such as Bonn-Cologne airport and Mondelēz International. Also, more details on the functionality are urgently needed.