April 7, 2021

Parallel Wireless Announces Partnership with Etisalat to Deliver Central Asia’s First O-RAN Implementation in Afghanistan

Companies to collaborate with Intel and Supermicro to bring cost-effective rural and urban coverage

NASHUA, N.H., April 7, 2021 — Parallel Wireless, Inc., the leading U.S.-based Open RAN company, today announced its partnership with Etisalat, one of the world’s leading telco operators in Afghanistan (recognized by Ookla® Speedtest® as the world’s fastest mobile network in 2020) to deliver the world’s first cloud-native O-RAN compliant 5G 4G 3G 2G Open RAN solutions, in collaboration with Intel and Supermicro, becoming the first in Central Asia to implement Open RAN. 

Afghanistan has seen a strong increase in mobile broadband with penetration reaching 22% in 2019 up from 1% in 2013. While mobile broadband is still in its early stages of development, growth is expected in 2022.

Mobile network operators in Central Asia are facing strong pressure to evolve their businesses and operations to drive profitability. Addressing these challenges requires industry innovation focused on reducing CAPEX and OPEX and opening the networks to avoid any vendor lock-in. Traditional hardware-defined 2G, 3G or 4G networks require expensive and bulky equipment to deploy, operate or upgrade.  

Open RAN solutions are now ready for prime time as Parallel Wireless Open RAN solution is delivering proof points of performance, quality of service, and cost benefits on six continents. Parallel Wireless is also leading with innovation in Open RAN, including the world’s first network architecture that unifies all mobile connectivity standards – 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G– under the same software and cloud-native umbrella. 

In Afghanistan, Parallel Wireless is innovating with ecosystem partners to deliver:

  • Easy scale-out and hardware decoupling to provide mobile operators with greater agility, resilience, and portability across cloud environments for greater total cost of ownership (TCO) savings. 
  • The Open RAN radio hardware ecosystem provides Remote Radio Units (RRUs) that will allow Etisalat to replace legacy 2G/3G/4G systems with white box solutions that can be upgraded to 5G in the future.
  • Intel’s 3rd Gen Intel Xeon scalable processors delivered in Supermicro’s servers bring a future-ready architecture for a Distributed Unit (DU) and a Central Unit (CU), deployed at the network’s edge. The virtual Baseband Unit (vBBU) resources can be shared among multiple RRUs on-site in multi-carrier 1-sector, 3-sector, or 6-sector configurations to achieve optimal resource pooling for TCO savings.

Etisalat’s strategic goal is to build and grow wireless networks to provide next-generation digital services to its customers in the region. Working in collaboration with Parallel Wireless, Intel, and Supermicro, this can be achieved by:

  • assembling viable solutions that build on an open and modular architecture; 
  • improving service agility through cloudification; and
  • reducing operational costs across geographically distributed sites with automation.

Supporting quotes

Hatem Bamatraf, Chief Technology Officer-International, Etisalat Group, said: “The combination of Open RAN, virtualization, and automation will enable Etisalat to meet the needs of our customers most cost-effectively in Central Asia. Being able to use an Open RAN system will help us not only extend our initial investment, but also bring new services much faster. Parallel Wireless together with Intel and Supermicro have become true strategic partners and key enablers in undertaking this Open RAN implementation.”

Jeff Sharpe, Director Edge/5G Solutions, Supermicro, said, “We are pleased to be working with Etisalat, Parallel Wireless, and Intel to enable an open ecosystem of disaggregated RAN solutions using vendor-neutral RAN hardware and software-defined technology based on open interfaces and community-developed standards.”

Amrit Heer, Director of Sales, Parallel Wireless, said, “In collaboration with the ecosystem partners, Parallel Wireless aims to make the RAN more open and flexible. While there is significant innovation happening, there are considerable gaps and challenges that make it difficult to deploy end-to-end Open RAN solutions, putting a heavy burden back on operators. We believe it is the ideal time to align and collaborate to solve the key challenges to deliver innovative RAN solutions that are ready for commercial deployment. Implementing our world’s leading O-RAN compliant software platform will allow Etisalat to enable new services to be deployed quickly, seamlessly, and more reliably.”


About Etisalat Group 

Etisalat Group is one of the world’s leading telecom groups in emerging markets. With consolidated net revenue at AED 51.7 billion and consolidated net profit of AED 9.0 billion for 2020, its high credit ratings reflect the company’s strong balance sheet and proven long-term performance. 

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Etisalat was established over four decades ago in the UAE as the country’s first telecommunications service provider. An international blue-chip organisation, Etisalat Group provides innovative solutions and services to 154 million subscribers in 16 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. 

Etisalat is ranked the strongest brand across all categories in Middle East and Africa (MEA) region by Brand Finance. Etisalat was recognized as the fastest mobile network globally by Ookla® Speedtest® in 2020, providing its subscribers the most superior experience. 

About Parallel Wireless

At Parallel Wireless, we believe that software has the power to unleash amazing opportunities for the world. We disrupt the ways wireless networks are built and operated. We are reimagining how hardware, software, and the cloud work together to change deployment economics for our customers. Our ALL G (2G 3G 4G 5G) O-RAN compliant software platform forms an open, secure, and intelligent RAN architecture to deliver wireless connectivity, so all people can be connected whenever, wherever, and however they choose. We are engaged with over 50 global MNOs and have been recognized with over 74 industry awards. At the core of what we do is our team of Reimaginers who value innovation, collaboration, openness, and customer success. For more information, visit: www.parallelwireless.com. Connect with Parallel Wireless on LinkedIn and Twitter.

For any inquires please contact pr@parallelwireless.com

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