US, Japan pledge $8-M to PH for field trials of next-gen ICT system

US, Japan pledge $8-M to PH for Open Radio Access Network field trials

/ 05:49 PM April 12, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States — The United States (US) and Japan have expressed their intention to put $8 million into the field trials of an Open Radio Access Network (RAN) in the Philippines, which is seen to ensure a secure and reliable information communications technology (ICT) ecosystem.

The three countries’ leaders announced the move in a joint statement Thursday night (Eastern time) after the trilateral summit here.

READ: $100-B investments seen to flow into PH in 5-10 years – US envoy


According to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., US President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, all three countries are committed to harnessing their people’s talents to “seize cutting-edge technological opportunities.”


“The United States, subject to Congressional notification, and Japan, with support from Japanese industry, intend to provide at least $8 million for Open Radio Access Network (RAN) field trials and the Asia Open RAN Academy based in Manila, to enable future commercial deployment and an open, interoperable, secure, reliable, and trusted information communications technology ecosystem in the Philippines,” the leaders said.

“This builds on prior U.S. and Japanese investment of over $9 million for these projects in the Philippines. The government of Japan is also seriously considering further investments for the potential commercial deployment of Open RAN technology in the Philippines, including from the Global South Future-Oriented Co-Creation Project,” it added.

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According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which operates under the US Department of Commerce, Open RAN is a system where the requirements to operate internet systems are disaggregated — meaning, systems would not have to be built using components from a single provider.

This allows industries to operate using components across the field because interfaces have been standardized, which translates to compatibility.

“Next-generation Radio Access Networks (RANs) are characterized by the disaggregation of the network elements and the use of intelligent controllers to manage the increased complexity of radio technologies and network deployments.


The disaggregation of the network elements to create an Open RAN that allows the equipment from different vendors to communicate requires well-defined, standardized interfaces,” NIST said on its website.

It added, “The standardization effort is being led by the O-RAN Alliance, an international community of mobile network operators, vendors, and research and academic institutions operating in the RAN industry.”

Both the US and Japan have commended the Philippines for its commitment to developing an Open RAN policy as it would boost economic progress.

“The United States and Japan welcome the Philippines’ plan to pilot Open RAN in its national broadband program and free Wi-Fi project. The United States and Japan commend the Philippines’ commitment to develop a national Open RAN policy framework, reaffirming the Philippines’ endorsement of open, interoperable, and trusted architectures,” the leaders said.

“This year, our three countries look forward to holding the first trilateral Cyber and Digital Dialogue to explore additional cooperation opportunities,” it added.

Several business discussions were held during the trilateral summit between the three countries on Thursday afternoon (Eastern time), including talks on how the newly launched Luzon Economic Corridor would attract a steady supply of investments.

A trilateral event would be conducted on the sidelines of the upcoming Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Manila, which intends to enhance the three countries’ economic cooperation and deliver “tangible investments.”

Just this Wednesday, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said that the Philippines is set to receive US$100 billion worth of investments from the US and Japan in the next five to ten years.

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A huge part of securing these investments, Romualdez said, is through getting a share in the US semiconductor industry, which is said to be worth US$80 billion just in the Asean region.

TAGS: ICT, Japan, Philippines, RAN, US

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