Rogers steps up to the plate and tries out cloud RAN

Canadian telco Rogers claims to be the first operator in the country to trial Cloud RAN technology on its commercial 5G network.

Nick Wood

July 3, 2024

2 Min Read

It took place on Canada Day at a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game, held at the Rogers Centre. It was carried out using technology supplied by Rogers' network supplier, Ericsson.

Rogers said cloud-native technology will enable it to respond faster to both consumer and enterprise customer demands. It will also serve as the foundation for future 5G technological developments, and improve network reliability, resiliency, and energy efficiency.

For Ericsson, the trial is yet more evidence that the cloud-native, disaggregated future of mobile networking doesn't represent much of a threat to its position in the value chain.

The Swedish kit maker was chosen by Rogers in 2018 to be the exclusive vendor for its 5G network, which went live in 2020.

The partnership levelled up that same year, when Ericsson was chosen to supply Rogers with a dual-mode 5G standalone (SA) core network. Rogers' 5G SA network entered commercial service in 2022 – the operator was the first in Canada and one of the first in the world to take such a step.

More recently, in February, Rogers and Ericsson successfully carried out Canada's first trial of network slicing technology.

With this track record, there was only one logical choice for Rogers when it came to Cloud RAN. There just isn't the appetite among many operators – likely because of the financial and operational upheaval it would cause – to do anything too radical.

It also highlights the deftness with which traditional RAN vendors like Ericsson are navigating their way into the era of cloud-native networking, maintaining their status as a safe pair of hands for their operator customers.

"Cloud-native technology is a critical component in the next generation of wireless networks and we are proud to have completed Canada's first deployment of 5G Cloud RAN technology at a major live event," said Ron McKenzie, CTIO of Rogers.

In addition to trialling Cloud RAN, Rogers continues to expand and upgrade its commercial 5G SA network.

As part of a C$300 million public-private partnership to improve coverage in rural Eastern Ontario, Rogers is building 332 new sites and upgrading a further 312 existing ones. 42 new sites – plus four upgraded ones – went live last month, delivering connectivity to 21 communities in the region.

In May, Rogers also kicked off a new phase of construction of its 5G network in the Toronto subway system, TTC. It is extending coverage to another 36 km of tunnels, providing a network for passengers and emergency responders.

"We continue to invest in our coast-to-coast radio access network, including innovative Cloud-native technologies, to deliver the most reliable, consistent network services across the country for both consumers and enterprise customers," McKenzie said.

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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