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Etisalat partners with Parallel Wireless, Intel, and Supermicro in deploying the world's first cloud-native Open RAN solutions in Afghanistan — the first Open RAN implementation in Central Asia.

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."

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 traditional hardware-defined 2G, 3G, or 4G networks that require expensive and bulky equipment to deploy, operate or upgrade.

Open RAN solutions are now ready for prime time as Parallel Wireless leads 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, the Open RAN radio hardware ecosystem of Parallel Wireless shall provide 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.

Amrit Heer, Director of Sales, Parallel Wireless, said, "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."

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.

Jeff Sharpe, Director Edge/5G Solutions, Supermicro, commented on this collaboration: "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."

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