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Virtual RAN gathers pace, but obstacles lie ahead
Momentum is building for the rollout of virtual RAN (vRAN), which promises to deliver numerous benefits to operators, including cost savings and a reduction in vendor lock-in while also enabling network automation and edge computing. Despite these benefits though, most vRAN deployments so far have been small in scale and limited to a few large operators. This reflects the complexity of vRAN, which requires operators to undergo significant IT transformation in both infrastructure and workforce skill sets. Additionally, there is a need to accelerate the scalability of vRAN equipment through greater consensus-building efforts between operators and vendors, especially the growing collection of challenger vendors. These are some of the main barriers to vRAN, as revealed in a recent GSMA Intelligence survey.