The standard for ORAN is being set: the ORAN Alliance is levelling the playing field and the business is all to play for. The Alliance says: “5G will radically change how we live, work and play. It’s critical to make network infrastructure commercially available as quickly as possible.”
SO, HOW WILL OPEN RAN AFFECT THE TELECOMS INDUSTRY AND ITS JOBS?
1. It will open up a competitive market for telecoms & IT companies
Many IT companies will be able to further enter the telco space and create an increasingly competitive market; inevitably driving solution costs down. Potentially rather than being controlled by a few massive companies, Open RAN will create a level playing field for smaller software-based companies. Individuals can develop an Open RAN solution, sell it, install it on a server and interact with the end to end network without corresponding with any other hardware.
This will clearly affect telecom talent pools, traditional telcos searching for candidates with new skillsets in emerging software areas and companies which already have these teams needing to invest in greater retention strategies to keep staff that will be in very high demand across the globe. All in all the market will be more talent driven so businesses will need to be more agile in their approach to recruiting and retaining their teams.
2. Open RAN will create lots of new job opportunities but the perfect talent pool may not exist right now (but it won’t be far behind)
The traditional telecoms workforce has upskilled through each generation upgrades, from 2.5G right up to 5G. Open RAN skills consist of traditional telecoms engineering mixed with software development.
The one thing that all vendors and providers should expect, is that they might not immediately find the ‘perfect’ candidate for Open RAN. As it is such a new mix of technologies it is much less likely that the ideal, spot-on, 100% fully qualified and experienced candidate might not yet exist (and if they do they will be in high demand & rather expensive). There are many candidates with excellent relevant experience right now looking to further their careers, those clients that are securing these candidates that may have 80% – 90% of the skills required are offering further training/development and not waiting on ‘unicorns’ that may not yet exist in what is still an immature O RAN market.
3. Open RAN will challenge the ‘big 5’ traditional telecoms companies
Expect disruption within the traditional telecoms space. The top 3 names for Open RAN right now are not the ‘usual’ top names for Open RAN in the conventional telecoms space. We have companies such as Mavenir, Altiostar, Parallel Wireless, Rakuten, plus others like HP, Oracle and Dell all in the mix too.
We are now seeing 100 to 200 different sized companies offering different pieces of the puzzle on the Open RAN journey. It will be exciting throughout the years to come seeing these companies challenge for the top spots.
Companies looking to hire will have to offer competitive careers and development to get the best talent. Brand and size will be important, however with so many challenger companies emerging the market for the best candidates will, like Open RAN itself, be wide “open”. It will be about the Open RAN job opportunity itself plus what the company has to offer the talent v’s the pack.