Gogo tapped Airspan for air-to-ground 5G network build
With 5G set to quickly scale and RAN virtualization and openness gradually shifting vendor dynamics, Airspan sees its history of hardware and software development, as well as its track record of large-scale deployment with operators like Reliance Jio and Sprint, as positioning the company to play a big role in 5G builds and address key vertical industries.
Case in point, during Mobile World Congress Los Angeles, Airspan announced its working with in-flight connectivity provider Gogo to deliver ground-to-air 5G to private aircraft, regional jets and smaller mainline birds. That network is tracking for availability in the 2021 timeframe.
And with this win in aviation, Airspan’s Damiano Coletti told RCR Wireless News, speaks to Airspan’s ability to address complex, vertical-specific use cases. “The optimistic view is there are a lot of industries with billions in capex that require this technology as a tool for their digital transformation. We see the opportunity to address these premium markets.”
As compared to its competitors, Coletti said Airspan’s history of hardware and software development gives it an edge in tailoring product sets to meet the needs of different end users. In the case of Gogo, Layer 1 ability to track fast moving objects is a key part of the larger value proposition.
“If you look at Gogo, and you look at the history of what we’ve been doing with the software, the reason we got Gogo is because we have killer apps to adjust the Layer 1. It’s something of a real key differentiator for those verticals.”
Coletti also discussed the company’s efforts to decouple its hardware and software to allow customers to mix and match vendor solutions. This move toward open RAN is gaining significant traction as of late as operators look to shift network economics by embracing general-purpose hardware. This move away from proprietary systems could also serve to shake up the three-vendor market dominance and foster innovation.
“I think it’s technological and economic innovation,” he said of open RAN. “It allows for focus. You get the people who are focused on certain things. You’re not forced to go to a one stop shop where maybe one link of the chain is not as strong as the other.”
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