The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market.
The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said.
The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB and Huawei Technologies Co (華為), Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said at the inauguration in Taoyuan.
“In the 3G and 4G world, telecommunication technology was tied to the manufacturer. It was a closed system,” Wang said. “But with 5G, we have the opportunity to create our own innovative products”
“This open lab does not belong to Cisco,” Cisco managing director of Greater China and Taiwan general manager George Chen (陳志惟) said. “It belongs to everybody, including government authorities and manufacturers.”
“As for maintaining the safety and security of the ecosystem, that is Cisco’s responsibility,” he added.
Taiwanese network equipment manufacturers who attended the event included Ethernet switch maker Accton Technology Corp (智邦科技), communications device maker Alpha Networks Inc (明泰科技), networking firm Arcadyan Technology Corp (智易) and wireless local area network (LAN) equipment maker Askey Computer Corp (亞旭電腦) and more.
In April, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten announced that it was working with Cisco and other companies to create a 5G Open RAN (radio access network) that would cover all of Japan. The project uses servers made by Taiwan’s Quanta Cloud Technology (雲達科技) and base stations from Sercomm Corp (中磊).
The Taiwanese government has been aggressively pursuing early adoption of 5G technology, budgeting more than NT$70 billion (US$2.4 billion) for 5G research and development and infrastructure buildout and related research development, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said at the inauguration.
“This is an essential part of our digital transformation,” Kung said.
Cisco is one of the 30 firms that joined the Open RAN Policy Coalition in May. Other members include Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc, as well as US carriers AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc and chipmakers Qualcomm Inc, Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co.