Jakarta, 10 February 2021. PT XL Axiata Tbk (XL Axiata) continues to be committed to supporting the government in equitable distribution of broadband network coverage throughout Indonesia. Various efforts have been made by XL Axiata to realize this commitment, including by implementing innovations and initiatives for the application of new technologies that are more effective and efficient, namely the Open RAN (Radio Access Network). This implementation is initiated by conducting an Open RAN trial which is successfully integrated into the existing network in Ambon this February.
Director & Chief Technology Officer of XL Axiata, I Gede Darmayusa said, "We are serious and continue to make various efforts to realize our commitment to support the government in building and providing telecommunications networks to various regions in Indonesia. One of the efforts is to try to implement the Open RAN technology, by holding trial first. We hope that the application of this technology can be a solution for network development more efficiently and effectively, especially in remote areas outside Java. Currently the trial is in the testing phase of service, functionality, capabilities, and performance. The progress of trial of test calls on 3G networks (CS fallback) and OTT calls on 4G networks have also been successfully carried out, and is currently in the process of monitoring for performance and stability. For this trial, we did it together with Mavenir as the technology provider partner."
Gede added, that the series of trials currently being carried out is only an early stage. Further exploration is needed to truly understand the characteristics of Open RAN, including understanding the network operation mechanism. In this trial, a number of aspects are observed including the services, functionality, capabilities and performance of the Open RAN toolkit. To that end, trials are conducted for call services, browsing data, uploading and downloading, accessibility and retain ability, availability and mobility (handover), as well as network utilization and quality.
According to Gede, in 2021, XL Axiata plans to conduct Open RAN trials with other technology partners in order to get more options before implementation. The trial is at once to compare the quality of performance and capabilities of technology partners. The next process after this initial phase of trial is a pilot project for the Open RAN deployment to further ascertain how much benefit this technology can bring.
“We chose Ambon as the Open RAN trial location with the consideration that this area has good business potential for network expansion in the future. The successful trial run in Ambon has opened up opportunities for the implementation of Open RAN in all rural areas of Indonesia, including in Eastern Indonesia Region. We will indeed apply this later to support efforts to expand the network in remote areas, including in supporting government programs in providing internet networks to remote villages," continued Gede.
Open RAN technology is a radio access device technology that adopts the open interface concept, where operators can use a combination of radio devices, such as radio units and base bands, without being tied to one specific brand. With this Open RAN concept, it is hoped that it can encourage the growth of new players in radio access equipment, which is currently only dominated by a few technology provider partners. With the growth of new players, innovation can develop faster and help lower the equipment and operational burden borne by the operator.
Open RAN technology offers potential for innovation and a more competitive pricing structure. XL Axiata hopes to expand its network and services at a healthier cost and at the same time still be able to provide good service quality for customers. With cost load efficiency, operators will be able to continuously expand the network to reach a wider community, even for remote areas.