Nippon Telegraph and Telephone: KT Corporation, NTT DOCOMO and Fujitsu Cooperate in Construction of Test Facilities and Successful Interoperability Testing for Open RAN in Korea


January 6, 2022

Tokyo, World, January 6, 2022 — KT Corporation (hereafter KT) and Fujitsu Limited (hereafter Fujitsu) completed a verification facility at the KT Research and Development Center in Seoul, South Korea, where both companies have taken advantage of the Fujitsu Open. RAN-based 5G base station equipment to successfully test call connection during interoperability testing for open front-end link (1). NTT DOCOMO, INC. (hereinafter NTT DOCOMO) provided Fujitsu with technical support throughout the project. With the construction of this new test facility, KT will accelerate the introduction of Open RAN technology to the Korean 5G network.

Following their successful collaboration, the three companies entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (effective January 6, 2022), focused on the introduction of the software-defined virtualized RAN (hereafter vRAN) and the RAN intelligent controller. (RIC) (2) in alignment with the “5G Open RAN Ecosystem” (3), an initiative whose participants include NTT DOCOMO and Fujitsu. In the MoU, the three companies agree to cooperate in other activities, including the construction of an O-RAN test facility and multi-vendor interoperability testing in Korea.

In addition to these activities, the three companies will continue to create cutting-edge innovations and target the global expansion of Open RAN.

The multi-vendor RAN architecture enables optimal solutions for a variety of deployment scenarios, including small, space-saving base stations that can cover areas in city centers where communication is concentrated, or base stations that can cover large areas and thus can contribute to a flexible and equipment purchases and cost reductions. The open specifications also help to create a secure and transparent RAN architecture.

5G mobile networks are becoming more and more popular in Korea and the demand for 5G is expected to increase further in the future. KT is considering the introduction of a multi-vendor open RAN to reduce equipment purchase and construction costs and to achieve flexible network construction capabilities. To this end, KT and Fujitsu built an Open RAN verification facility and performed multi-vendor interoperability testing with O-RAN open fronthaul in October 2021. For the test facility, KT adopted base stations Fujitsu 5G, which were the first O-RAN Compliant (4) base stations adopted for commercial service by NTT DOCOMO. The tests involved verifying the interoperability between the base station controllers (CU: Central Unit / DU: Distributed Unit) of Fujitsu’s 5G base station equipment and the radio unit of a major Korean supplier. medium, as well as end-to-end communication tests. Companies have successfully verified O-RAN compliant operation during testing.
Fujitsu supplied KT with 5G base station equipment and provided support during verification testing, while Fujitsu in turn received technical support from NTT DOCOMO for multi-vendor interoperability testing.

Going forward, KT aims to further expand its verification facilities for the future introduction of Open RAN-based vRAN and RIC systems.

The three companies plan to further strengthen their collaboration under the “5G Open RAN Ecosystem” initiative.

  1. Fronthaul open:
    Standardized O-RAN interface that connects CU / DU and RU.

  2. RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC):
    RAN controller capable of optimizing the management of radio resources and automating operations.

  3. 5G Open RAN Ecosystem:
    Activity of NTT DOCOMO, Fujitsu and partner companies to accelerate open radio access networks (Open RAN) globally and enable flexible deployment of the network to meet the diverse needs of businesses and operators in the era of 5G, including the commercialization of vRAN.

  4. O-RAN Compliant:
    Compliance with common specifications developed by O-RAN ALLIANCE (Open Radio Access Network ALLIANCE), an industrial group that promotes standardization with the aim of achieving a new generation open and scalable radio access network. KT, Fujitsu and NTT DOCOMO are members of the O-RAN ALLIANCE.


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