Industry leaders in AI and wireless form AI-RAN Alliance

26th February 2024
Paige West

The AI-RAN Alliance has been launched at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, heralding a significant step forward in the fusion of artificial intelligence (AI) with cellular technologies to enhance radio access network (RAN) and mobile network capabilities.

This new coalition unites a broad spectrum of participants from the technological, industrial, and academic sectors. Its founding members boast notable names such as Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), Arm, DeepSig Inc. (DeepSig), Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Ericsson), Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft), Nokia, Northeastern University, NVIDIA, Samsung Electronics, SoftBank Corp. (SoftBank), and T-Mobile USA, Inc. (T-Mobile). The alliance aims to boost mobile network efficiencies, diminish power usage, and modernise current infrastructure. This initiative is poised to unlock novel economic prospects for the telecommunications industry through the strategic application of AI, propelled by the advent of 5G and 6G technologies.

The collective expertise and leadership of the alliance members will be channelled into three principal domains of research and innovation:

  1. Enhancing RAN capabilities with AI to augment spectral efficiency
  2. Merging AI with RAN operations to optimise infrastructure use and cultivate AI-generated revenue avenues
  3. Implementing AI services at the network Edge via RAN to improve operational efficiency and introduce new services to mobile users.

Network operators within the alliance are set to lead the charge in trialling and adopting these cutting-edge technologies, which stem from the collaborative research efforts of the alliance's corporate and academic members.

Mohamed Awad, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Infrastructure Line of Business, Arm, said: “AI will fundamentally change the way wireless services are deployed and enable broad innovation and operational efficiency across the telco sector. The AI-RAN Alliance brings together industry-shaping companies with expertise from silicon through software to deliver on the promise of ubiquitous AI and 6G.”

Jason Hogg, GM, Azure for Operators, Microsoft, said: “At Microsoft, we believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is the defining technology of our time. We are pleased to participate in the AI-RAN Alliance in order to apply AI to help operators optimise their RAN infrastructure investments as well as to extend the role of the RAN to deliver new AI based services that support the needs of modern mobile applications.”

Ronnie Vasishta, Senior Vice President for Telecom at NVIDIA, said: “The AI-RAN Alliance marks a critical step toward a future in which the full power of AI and digital twins can be harnessed for mobile networks and the transformation of the telecom industry. The alliance’s work will help accelerate the pace of AI innovation, driving unprecedented levels of efficiency across the industry.”

Tommaso Melodia, William. L. Smith Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Northeastern University’s Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things said: “The formation of the AI-RAN Alliance marks a pivotal moment in the industry’s evolution towards a more open, software-driven, and AI-integrated future. This strategic collaboration is set to fast-track the development of new services and use cases by leveraging the power of openness, softwarization, and AI integration to enhance network performance, energy efficiency, spectrum sharing, and security, ultimately redefining the landscape of global communications.”

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