NEC Australia to participate in the Open RAN pilot workgroup to transform Regional Mobile Coverage
Melbourne & Tokyo June 16, 2022 – NEC Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation and a leading Australian ICT solutions and services firm, was selected to participate in Phase One of the Department of Regional New South Wales (DRNSW) Mobile Coverage Project (MCP) Active Sharing Partnership leveraging Open RAN technologies.
The NSW Government’s Active Sharing Partnership aims to improve mobile coverage where people live and work in rural and regional NSW. The key objectives of the Partnership are to establish fit-for-purpose commercial and delivery model solutions for active sharing, investigate the application of different technical and deployment scenarios, and deliver improved mobile coverage in regional NSW using active sharing solutions.
The NSW Government has committed $300 million from the Regional Digital Connectivity program for the Mobile Coverage Project to be delivered across multiple stages. The Stage 1 – Mobile Coverage Project will invest $50 million towards the Active Sharing Partnership’s delivery. The Active Sharing Partnership is being delivered in two phases – Phase One (design) and Phase Two (delivery).
Eight companies were selected following an RFP that closed in January this year for Phase One of the Active Sharing Partnership. In addition to Open RAN, other active sharing models are being trialled as part of Phase One, including MOCN (Multi-Operator Core Network), MORAN (Multi-Operator Radio Access Network), and Roaming. Under Phase One of the Active Sharing Partnership program, NEC and other key industry players, including MNOs, will collaborate to identify and design Open RAN-based active sharing solutions that could be implemented in Phase Two to address mobile blackspots across regional NSW.
Successful participants from Phase One of the program may be invited to submit funding requests to implement active sharing solutions in Phase Two, expected to commence later in 2022. Results from the initial $50 million investment will inform a broader rollout underpinned by the remaining $250 million committed to the program by the NSW Government. Open RAN enables the disaggregation and integration of the RAN components based on open specifications, allowing flexibility to combine best-of-breed components from a diversified supply chain and reduce mobile infrastructure costs.
“NEC is uniquely positioned as a leading network product and solution provider with extensive expertise and insightful understanding of Open RAN technology’s benefits. Capitalising on our global experiences with operators as well as government-led initiatives such as NeutrORAN in the UK, NEC is pleased to be part of the Active Sharing Partnership initiative as DRNSW closes the digital divide for regional communities,” said Krisztian Som, Head of 5G Sales, Asia Pacific at NEC.
“Network Sharing makes perfect sense as it reduces the need to build additional mobile towers across regional NSW. Regional communities deserve reliable and affordable mobile services. We are committed to trialling innovative approaches to achieve the long-term solutions our rural and regional communities deserve,” said Paul Toole, Deputy Premier of NSW.