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NEC expands Open RAN ecosystem with Aspire Tech acquisition

By Catherine Knowles
Mon 4 Jul 2022

With its agreement to acquire Aspire Technology, NEC Corporation has further increased its capacity to deliver End-to-End Open RAN ecosystems, along with system design and integration for legacy networks, to operators globally.

Aspire Technology is an expert in technology solutions and specialised system integration (SI) with skills in designing and integrating Open Networks, a critical need in the drive toward successful global adoption of Open RAN 5G.

According to NEC, the company provides solutions and services across the full network lifecycle for legacy and open architectures, from 2G to 5G, and will continue to utilise their expertise and experience in the growing Open Networks and Open RAN environment.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in July 2022, following the confirmation of necessary procedures and approvals for each organisation.

NEC is a global expert in Open RAN. NEC Open Networks is an ecosystem consisting of an end-to-end suite of open products and solutions, including Open RAN components for disaggregated hardware and software, xHaul transport, converged core, automation/ orchestration software and SI services.

The addition of Aspire Technology strengthens NEC's SI offering for Open RAN 5G applications, which require an increased level of systems design and integration when compared with legacy ecosystems.

Aspire Technology was founded in 2009 by a group of executives with more than a century of cumulative telecom experience.

The company provides technology solutions, software applications, consulting and systems integration for Tier-1 telco operators on legacy network architectures, and also to those looking to further drive innovation and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by realising the true promise of disaggregation and 5G, the company states.

Aspire Technology has been an advocate for Open RAN and has built an Open Networks Lab enabling partners to fast-track development, integration and testing of Open Networks.

Naohisa Matsuda, general manager of NEC's 5G Strategy and Business says, " NEC has made a strong, public commitment to providing leadership in the rollout of Open RAN. Part of that commitment is building out our ability to serve as the prime system integrator for global operators as they adopt Open Networks at their own pace. The SI business is all about people and expertise.

"The strong capabilities and the deep pool of talented engineers at Aspire Technology, combined with their portfolio of technology solutions and applications, is a big step forward for our NEC Open Networks strategy. NEC is now better prepared than any supplier to integrate disaggregated network components into a well-tuned ecosystem."

Bill Walsh, Aspire Technology's founder and CEO says, "We believe the combination of NEC and Aspire Technology will provide tremendous benefits to our customers, both legacy network-based and those evolving to the more Open environment, and also to the broader 5G and Open RAN marketplace, which is growing rapidly.

"We share a common vision of the 5G and Open RAN market, and a history of delivering complex integration projects with some of the largest carriers in the world. Together, we create a compelling and comprehensive 5G solutions portfolio."

NEC is engaged in all telecom network domains and layers from fronthaul to backhaul, physical and virtual networks, to service management and orchestration, monetisation, and customer engagement layers using Digital BSS/OSS solutions from its subsidiary Netcracker. NEC states the company is committed to delivering open, secure and efficient 5G networks with end-to-end carrier- grade quality, from the core to the edge, all around the world.

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