The open Radio Access Network (RAN) movement is sweeping over the wireless world and Parallel Wireless is one vendor that’s staffing up.
This week, the company, which was founded in 2012, announced it’s expanding its open RAN research and development centers around the globe, as well as adding to its U.S. testing facility.
The company employs about 685 people, according to public figures on LinkedIn, but the actual figure is higher than that, according to Parallel VP of Marketing Eugina Jordan.
“Our goal is to double by the end of next year,” she said. “We need to prepare Parallel Wireless for the next level of growth,” scaling the market and meeting the promise of open RAN.
If that means becoming one of the “big ones,” so be it. Parallel is among a growing roster of vendors that’s been challenging the likes of Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei at their own game – namely, the RAN. By disaggregating the RAN and components required to run a wireless network, these vendors and their carrier partners hope to eliminate the vendor lock-in that has dominated telecom for so many years.
“We need to grow … so we become one of those big vendors – a new one,” Jordan said.
Parallel just won a key contract with Millicom, replacing one of the legacy vendors, to provide the first open-RAN compliant network in Latin America enabling 4G.
Covid-19 has shown that employees don’t have to be tied to one location in order to get their jobs done, and Parallel is not mandating that its new hires reside in a particular location. It’s all about hiring where the talent is located, she said.
“If the talent is in the U.S., we’re going to hire them in the U.S. If the talent is in Canada, we’re going to hire them in Canada. We don’t discriminate based on the location. The majority of those positions – they can be performed remotely as well,” she told Fierce.
In the U.S., Parallel’s headquarters is based in Nashua, New Hampshire, which is near Boston, and it has satellite offices throughout the country. Open positions are listed in the areas of finance, HR, IT, marketing, product management, 5G R&D and system test and integration.
It has research and development centers as well in Bangalore and Pune in India; it’s building new state-of-the-art facilities in Israel, and in the U.K., it just opened a new office in Bristol. “We’re planning on opening up more offices as well globally. It all depends on where the talent is,” Jordan said.
Parallel supports the open RAN movement and in the last two years, it’s announced contracts with operators around the globe. In the U.S., it operates, with Inland Cellular in Idaho, the only live open RAN network, she said. With Inland Cellular, it serves primarily rural areas.
The company also is part of the FCC’s rip & replace approved list of vendors for replacing Huawei gear in the U.S. Along with others, it has spent the last several years proving that open RAN is the way to go, and now, “it’s no longer about why open RAN but how I’m going to deploy open RAN,” Jordan said.
Interestingly, Dish Network is building a greenfield wireless network in the U.S., and it’s publicly named a lot of vendors on the way to open RAN, virtualization and all things 5G, but Parallel Wireless isn’t among them.
According to Dell’Oro Group, the cumulative open RAN revenue from 2020 to 2025 could reach up to $15 billion, with open RAN revenues accounting for more than 10% of the overall RAN market by 2025. Smaller challengers like Parallel, Airspan, Altiostar, Fujitsu, Mavenir and NEC accounted for the majority of open RAN revenues in the first half of 2021, although the firm expects traditional RAN suppliers will play a role going forward.
While the open RAN space is crowded with vendors, by design, Parallel’s main competition remains the three big ones: Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei. However, because open RAN is all about disaggregation, Parallel partners with different radio, virtualization, server providers and others depending on the customer’s needs, so it’s not a one-stop shop. “It’s an ecosystem,” she said.