MWC24: Red Hat is Helping Power Global Telco Solutions

We speak with Ben Panic, Vice President of Red Hat’s Global Telco Centre of Excellence, about the company’s MWC 2024 announcements and future telco trends

Telecommunications service providers maintain networks that support billions of connections among a growing range of smart devices, impacting both industries and whole societies. The leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, Red Hat helps transform legacy networks into agile platforms for innovation from core to edge - with open, cloud-native infrastructure and a partner ecosystem offering thousands of new possibilities.

As Ben Panic, Vice President of Red Hat’s Global Telco Centre of Excellence, tells us in an exclusive conversation at Mobile World Congress (MWC), Red Hat has been in the telecommunications market segment for over 10 years now. “We do a lot of our product development with inputs and requirements that come from our customers,” he says. “If we think about products like Red Hat OpenStack and OpenShift, they were all designed and developed to assist our telecommunications customers, so it's integral that we take inputs from the market and the industry as we develop those products.”

Announcements at MWC 2024

At MWC Red Hat announced that KDDI Corporation, a Japanese telecommunications operator, had chosen Red Hat to provide an open standard platform for their mobile network services including their 5G core and more.

“It's an opportunity that we've been working on with KDDI for a couple of years now, and it's allowing them to deploy multiple vendor solutions on top of Red Hat OpenShift, giving them the flexibility that they're looking for to deploy solutions into the market,” Panic explains. 

“They're starting with 5G Core, which is something that's a really hot technology in the market at the moment, and we're working with many of their vendors as they look to operationalise that technology and take it into Japan.”

The rise of Open RAN technologies

In addition to AI – which Panic defines as one of the hot topics at MWC – another area of acceleration in the telco space comes around Open RAN. 

One exciting example is an announcement Red Hat made with Mavenir and Vodafone Idea in India where they are leveraging Mavenir’s solution for Open RAN. “We've seen that for the last couple of years in the industry, and now we're starting to see even more traction. That's all based on and developed off of Red Hat OpenShift, which we're excited about.

“We're seeing that then translate into other industries outside of telecommunications with private 5G and wireless networks. So when we think about some of the industrial and automotive and manufacturing use cases in production lines that are now leveraging Open RAN technologies in private networks, our operator customers are excited about that because that's a new opportunity for them to develop revenue streams.”

AI and automation driving the future

With the conference this year attracting over 101,000 attendees, Panic sees MWC as a pivotal event in the calendar. “It's the one time of the year when 100,000 people that focus and work in the telecommunications industry come together, sharing ideas, talking about the applications and how we're generating new revenues together,” he says. 

“I'm particularly excited about some of the work that we're doing in the ecosystem with our partners, with AI and automation,” he concludes. “I think that's a very interesting use case where our customers in the telecommunications market are looking to leverage how they drive some of those operational efficiencies into their customers.”

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