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The geopolitical hijacking of open networking: the case of Open RAN

Plantin, Jean-Christophe ORCID: 0000-0001-8041-6679 (2021) The geopolitical hijacking of open networking: the case of Open RAN. European Journal of Communication, 36 (4). 404 - 417. ISSN 0267-3231

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Identification Number: 10.1177/02673231211028375


This article investigates how discourses on open networking technologies provide a social imaginary that industry and government actors mobilize in an attempt to expand their control over mobile telecommunications networks. The case of recent initiatives aiming to ‘open up’ radio access network (or RAN, a key component of telecommunications infrastructure) with an ‘open RAN’ model reveals how the US Government came to promote this nascent technology to create an opposition between its own ‘open’ telecommunications networks versus proprietary and presumed ‘untrustworthy’ networks based on foreign equipment, namely Huawei. While a closer look casts doubts on the benefits of open radio access network to increase network security or to open up the equipment market, this case reveals how openness is an ambiguous notion that can be used by governments to exclude foreign trade enemies, while advocating for trust in telecommunications networks.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2021 07:27
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 20:24

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