TIM is pushing further into the OpenRAN arena, this time with the launch of a new R&D centre in Turin.
More specifically, the Italian incumbent has opened an OTIC – or Open Test and Integration Centre – Lab, which it will use to test new solutions and, it claims, accelerate the deployment of OpenRAN technology in Europe.
The new TIM European OTIC Lab is one of the first of its kind worldwide and the first in Italy, the telco said. TIM is hardly an Open RAN pioneer, but in recent months it has made a number of moves designed to position itself at the forefront of OpenRAN development in Europe. It joined telco body the O-RAN Alliance as long ago as 2018, but its real involvement in the market arguably began earlier this year when it signed up to the Open RAN collaboration agreement inked by major European peers Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica in January.
Then, six weeks ago, the telco announced its first actual OpenRAN deployment, partnering with JMA Wireless and Microelectronics Technology Inc (MTI) to roll out the technology in the town of Faenza in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. That was a 4G project, but the telco committed to expanding into 5G in future.
The TIM European OTIC Lab is based at the group’s Innovation laboratories in Turin. It will serve as a “collaborative, open, impartial and qualified working environment,” as well as providing a physical space to support the broader adoption of OpenRAN specifications, TIM said. The lab promotes the opening of the OpenRAN ecosystem by developing implementations and
solutions, by testing and verifying the compliance of RAN equipment – such as antennas, radio base
stations, and so forth – from individual or different suppliers with the specifications of the OpenRAN interfaces, and by providing technical results to the community, TIM said.
“TIM thereby confirms its commitment to encouraging the adoption and development of OpenRAN solutions in Europe and speeding up their implementation on its commercial network,” the operator added.
The message is pretty clear: TIM does not want to be an ‘also ran’ when it comes to OpenRAN.