Meet ‘RIC’ – the newest player in B2B telecoms PR

The world of telecoms is full of acronyms, abbreviations and jargon. In my four years at Babel I’ve managed to get my head around a decent amount of it, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times that I let out a cry for help and asked someone to explain the MIMOs from the NB-IoTs. Thankfully, our team has a wealth of experience and expertise in telecoms PR that helped guide me in those first few months, and now, having seen the beautiful life that is telecoms, I know that when I fall in love it’ll be with someone who picks our wedding venue based on the 5G reception. (I’m kidding Mum…)

One of the newest buzzwords on the pages of the trade press is “RIC”. No, not one of your Dad’s friends, RIC stands for RAN Intelligent Controller, with RAN itself being an acronym for Radio Access Network – like acronym inception – I told you it would take a strong man to get to grips with it all!

Being able to take concepts like the RIC and explain them to both a knowledgeable trade audience and a broader business press audience, all in a unique way that doesn’t leave the reader sleeping is a challenge many B2B brands struggle with. Whenever you need somebody to take your technical message and create content that lands with the right audience the first thing you should try is an agency with a proven track record – check out these case studies, they might give you some ideas…

But enough of that, the RIC is set to be a big trend that every one of us in the industry will be keeping an eye on, so what is it and why is it going to be a giant topic for 2022 and beyond?


The App Store for Networks

In simple terms, the RIC provides a platform to run third-party software apps on the RAN – the part of the network that handles processing between your mobile phone and the core network. It has been described as an App Store for radio networks and will give your mobile operator the ability to run applications from a new breed of innovative vendors that will add advanced capabilities to the network in a way that hasn’t been possible before.

Some of the use cases already being trialled and deployed include apps that boost the performance of spectrum, offer precise positioning and automate the configuration management on the RAN. We’re already working with a couple of exciting players in the space and we’ll keep singing about their successes in our monthly coverage recaps.


RIC’s on a Roll

Unlike your Dad’s friend, the telco RIC is already proving popular and has some strong advocates behind it.

Gabriel Brown, a respected analyst at Heavy Reading has stated he believes the RIC will be a key innovation in mobile networks. Carlos Ubeda from Vodafone has also publicly stated the RIC “will allow new and groundbreaking use cases.” On a more practical level, Neil McRae, systems architect at BT has given the example of sending base stations to sleep overnight to save energy (and money!) by using the real-time automation the RIC can deliver. This type of scaling up and down also allows for better provisioning around major public events like sports games. 

ABI Research says 2022 will see operators “start paying more attention to RAN Intelligent Controller” as it “will prove that openness can introduce agility and new types of applications in the network.” It expects 2022 to be “a major year” for RIC announcements.

Clearly the RIC is going to be a major trend to watch and may well be the development that helps operators remove the unwanted label of ‘dumb pipe’ from their networks, instead transforming them into a platform for software-centric innovation. But for those players looking to disrupt the market, making sure the benefits are clearly communicated will be key, or they’ll be hopelessly left behind.

If you’re a telco brand and want help cutting through the noise, then take me to your heart and dial my number. We might be together forever!

P.S: If you’ve made it this far, you deserve to know a little secret hidden in this blog. Go back and read all the words in italics and you’ll see I’ve been playing a prank on you this whole time. If you still don’t get it, this will help. Who says B2B telecoms PR can’t be fun!

Written by

Senior Campaign Director

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