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Ericsson buys Kathrein’s antennas as vendors seek control of key elements

As operators see open interfaces and mix-and-match networks tantalizingly in sight for 5G RANs, the major vendors are consolidating their hold on as many elements of the network as they can, as illustrated by Ericsson’s decision to buy the mobile business of its long-time antenna supplier Kathrein. The growth and power in the RAN may have shifted to software, but there are, of course, significant physical elements that cannot be commoditized and which still offer a vendor significant revenue and differentiation. These are, notably, the antenna – increasingly complex in 5G with Massive MIMO – and the baseband processor. While arguably the latter could be a standard x86 (or ARM) CPU, in reality the heavy demands of running a RAN…

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