DOD, NTIA launch 2023 5G Challenge for O-RAN

The DoD said the 5G Challenge will accelerate the adoption of open interfaces and multi-vendor solutions toward the development of an open 5G ecosystem

The FutureG & 5G Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) is launching a 2023 5G Challenge focused on “advanced interoperability.”

DoD said that the 5G Challenge on Advanced Interoperability will “accelerate the adoption of open interfaces, interoperable components and multi-vendor solutions toward the development of an open 5G ecosystem.”

The 5G challenges are helping to determine “deployment readiness of Open RAN systems,” according to DoD, which, it added are “an important factor in future decisions about updating communications infrastructure on Department of Defense facilities” that will be undertaken over the next three years.

OUSD(R&E), acting as CTO of the U.S. Department of Defense, carries out research, science, technology, engineering and innovation activities that maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. The challenge is sponsored by the FutureG & 5G Office and led by the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) division of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Challenge participants will compete for up to $7 million in cash and prizes. Applications for the challenge are open until March 1, 2023.

“Competitors’ solutions and results from the 5G Challenge will help inform the FutureG & 5G Office’s views on the ability of Open RAN systems to be competitive in forthcoming base communications infrastructure modernization initiatives. The office looks forward to broadening industry participation in the 2023 5G Challenge to show the way forward to a bright future for open RAN technology,” the DoD said.

In June 2022, the National Spectrum Consortium, with support from the Department of Defense, announced a call for white papers to their membership, requesting feedback and ideas from industry and academia that could help accelerate the development, manufacturing, and testing of 5G Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) technologies in the United States.

The main goal of this initiative is to help identify obstacles to emerging or existing companies in accelerating the commercialization of Open RAN in the U.S.

The DoD said it has identified the development of Open Architecture and Virtualization as one of its major lines of effort under its 5G Strategy Implementation Plan.

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