Don’t count Nokia out of the Chinese RAN market just yet because it seems to be getting pretty cozy with China Mobile.
The unlikely couple announced their trial of Nokia’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) over China Mobile’s live 5G network. Apparently it went really well. As the Nokia product name indicates, this isn’t so much about the RAN itself, but automating the control of it, thus cutting expensive human beings out of the process.
“RIC plays a key role in enabling AI/ML capability in the RAN, which is of great significance to realize the concept of the ‘i-wireless-intelligent and simplicity 5G network’,” said Huang Yuhong, Deputy Director of the China Mobile Research Institute. “Nokia and CMCC’s trials are very meaningful for RIC commercialization.
“China Mobile has put effort into the AI-assisting RAN network technology. We are pleased to complete these trials using AI to forecast UE transmission bandwidth and detect anomalies on CMCC’s live network with our partner Nokia. The field trial proved the availability of RIC enabling network enhancements through customized real-time BTS data analysis and control.”
“We are excited to have worked with China Mobile on this project to advance RAN network intelligence,” said Pasi Toivanen, Head of Edge Cloud Platforms at Nokia. “We believe it will a be a key asset in improving the wireless network efficiency and the experience of its subscribers. This is an example of Nokia’s commitment to supporting our customers in the delivery of world-class network performance.”
While the main 5G RAN contracts for the three Chinese MNOs have already been awarded, with Nokia getting none of them, it seems there’s still plenty of scope for Nokia to get involved. It’s chances haven’t been done any harm by the fact that the Chinese government is having a sulk about Sweden’s ban of Huawei and ZTE. The next time China wants to show what a great global citizen it is through telecoms procurement, it might pick Nokia instead of Ericsson.