February 23, 2022

Europe’s Path to Digital Sovereignty Will Be Paved With 5G Technology

By Martijn Rasser and Carisa Nietsche

Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson are two of the world’s preeminent telecommunications equipment manufacturers but their position is not assured. China’s Huawei remains the global leader in the telecommunications infrastructure market.

In response to U.S. efforts to curtail its activity in developed markets—which contributed substantially to Nokia and Ericsson’s resurgence—Huawei is focusing on emerging markets, where it can undercut competitor pricing by 30 percent.

To preserve European technology leadership in telecommunications, Europe should lead on open radio access networks (open RAN) technologies instead of opposing them.

Open RAN is a fundamental rethink of how wireless networks run. While previously networks used one hardware vendor, open RAN uses software to enable multiple hardware vendors to be used. This helps lower costs and allows for newer entrants to the wireless infrastructure market.

Nokia and Ericsson acknowledge this. At the same time, both companies offer critiques of open RAN. This is no surprise given that rapid adoption of open RAN would upend their current hardware-centered business model.

Some European analysts have also expressed concerns about the presence of Chinese companies in the O-RAN Alliance, an industry grouping dedicated to setting open RAN specifications. They argue the U.S., Japan, and Europe should not move forward with open RAN technology because Chinese companies are involved in standardizing it.

Read the full article from Fortune.

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