This article is part of our Essential Guide: Essential Guide: State of 5G in APAC

Mavenir powers Thailand’s Smart City to add fuel to 5G Open RAN fire

Thailand’s state comms technology joins consortium of network firms to develop “Silicon Beach”, with end-to-end 5G private network

Network software provider Mavenir has revealed it is working with Thailand’s state-owned telecommunications company National Telecom Public Company Limited (NT), local firm 5GCT – which specialises in delivering end-to-end 5G Smart Cities – and Cisco Systems to launch the first 5G Open Radio Access Network (RAN) Smart City in Ban Chang, Thailand.

The city of Ban Chang is connected to a motorway linking Thailand’s two largest cities: Pattaya and Bangkok. The location is within close proximity to U-Tapao International Airport, Map Ta Phut Industrial Zone and the new masterplanned Ban Chang Smart City that are strategically important infrastructure for the Digital Economy in Thailand and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). 

The technology partners say the launch of the 5G Smart City creates synergies between public and private sectors for a fully functional smart city. They add that the city’s fundamental characteristics make Ban Chang the perfect location to take advantage of 5G use cases across industrial robots, factory automation, remote telemedicine, aviation, logistics and agriculture. The location is colloquially known as the Silicon Beach of Asia.

Moreover, the news of the deployment of Open RAN technology comes just as RAN technology leader Huawei has begun pivoting away from the traditional comms sector and with governments around the world leading a clamour for diversity in comms technology supply, the time has never been riper for software-based systems such as Open RAN to prosper. In April 2021, Mavenir and adaptive computing supplier Xilinx entered a partnership to take advantage.

The Ban Chang Smart City 5G Private Network operates in the millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum, regarded as ideally suited for a network operating internet of things (IoT) sensors, drones and smart poles, all applications which require fast data uplink to the core for real-time analysis and city management.

Mavenir has provided a cloud-native, open architecture-based private network solution that enabled NT to reach the promise of 5G. The software-based platform enabled the transformation of the mobile communication private network into a completely virtualised environment, where devices, applications, and services run on an automated network using open architecture, containers and artificial intelligence (AI).

The end-to-end 5G Open RAN, mmWave radios and 5G core with Open API technology standards, in-sync with the cloud-native solutions supporting private on-premise applications are intended to deliver to Smart City concepts such as real-time diagnostics of traffic, public safety, digital signage and sensitive environmental conditions.

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An NT division’s IP transport infrastructure supplier and a key Mavenir technology partner, Cisco, provided switching hardware and application services to enable the “smart” components of the 5G solution.

Commenting on the announcement, Shannon Kalayanamitr, chief executive officer at 5GCT, said “At 5GTC, we are driven to strengthen the potential of Thailand through high speed 5G. The partnership with Mavenir as an infrastructure provider enables us to deliver robust, secure and reliable 5G Private Network infrastructure across enterprises, including smart city applications, industry 4.0 applications – automated industry and modern medicine.”

Connectivity is at the heart of this deployment, said Mavenir’s general manager of its emerging business unit, Aniruddho Basu. “Connecting people, communities, government services, and private sector services through local government data combined with new data acquired through IOT, sensors, drones, and external collected data, to fully analyse it for proper city management and citizen knowledge. We are proud to be part of this ambitious 5G project which sees a whole city connected on a series of 5G applications running in parallel.

“The host of Smart City can create a single, secure communications network to support all needs that are simpler to deploy and manage from end-to-end visibility, ranging from smart kiosks and outdoor Wi-Fi, to smart street lighting, parking, waste and more, observed Taweewat Chantaraseno, managing director, Thailand & Indochina, Cisco Systems (Thailand).

“Smart city infrastructure is enabling efficiency, cost reduction and improved living for city occupants and network infrastructure platform helps create these efficiencies.”

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