PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) have joined other global telcos in exploring next-generation technology to make its network more efficient, resilient, flexible, and intelligent. Along with members of the global Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance, PLDT and Smart have begun looking into Network Disaggregation, both vertical and horizontal.
In vertical disaggregation, network functions decouple software from hardware allowing multiple combinations to be used. Horizontal disaggregation, on the other hand, decomposes established network functions into more granular elements and new interfaces are designed and specified.
This creates more players that can develop specific components of the overall architecture, leading to a broader ecosystem, accelerating innovation, and obtaining better and more cost-effective solutions.
“Working with major operators around the world and having them accept our inputs and analyses as co-author of NGMN’s latest white paper on ODiN (Operating Disaggregated Networks), bolsters PLDT and Smart’s thought leadership in the global arena,” said Mario Tamayo, head of Technology at PLDT and Smart. “This enables us to elevate our network, solutions, and competencies to be at par with international operators, and bring world-class services and technologies to our own customers here in the Philippines.”
Network Disaggregation is seen as both a consequence of the digital transformation as well as an accelerator of that journey. As a result, networks become increasingly agile, flexible, and responsive. All of these enable the delivery of new communication services tailored to user needs.
“We are now building our expertise through our involvement in projects like this and working with experts from around the world so that we are able to apply our learnings on our network when it becomes beneficial to business and the time is right,” said Arvin Siena, head of Technology Strategy and Transformation Office of PLDT and Smart and member of NGMN Board of Directors. “We believe that network disaggregation, which includes cloud-native implementation of Core and Open RAN (ORAN), offers a lot of potential for operators to be more agile and cost-effective in operating the network. In line with this, PLDT and Smart are also preparing the groundworks for the trial of Open RAN, which is a major component of network disaggregation, in its laboratory or Technolab.”
Alongside PLDT and Smart, other NGMN Alliance members who contributed to the white paper include experts from Deutsche Telekom, Bell Canada, British Telecom, China Mobile, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telus, 1&1, US Cellular, Chunghwa Telecom, and Turkcell.
The NGMN Alliance (Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance) is a forum founded by world-leading Mobile Network Operators and open to all partners in the mobile industry. Its goal is to ensure that next-generation network infrastructure, service platforms, and devices will meet the requirements of operators and, ultimately, will satisfy end-user demand and expectations.
The vision of the NGMN Alliance is to provide impactful industry guidance to achieve innovative, sustainable, and affordable mobile telecommunication services for the end-user with a particular focus on Mastering the Route to Disaggregation / Operating Disaggregated Networks, Green Future Networks, and 6G, whilst continuing to support 5G’s full implementation.
NGMN seeks to incorporate the views of all interested stakeholders in the telecommunications industry and is open to three categories of participants (NGMN Partners): Mobile Network Operators (Members), vendors, software companies, and other industry players (Contributors), as well as research institutes (Advisors).”