Navigation MenuRealWire Limited

Delivering Relevance, Releasing Influence

Tweet Facebook LinkedIn
Press Release

Small Cell Forum neutral hosts propose Hosted Open RAN global framework


Framework combines the qualities of DAS, CBRS/OnGo and JOTS NHIB with Open RAN disaggregation and virtualisation to provide flexible and modular approach for neutral hosting and private networks

London, UK – 13th July 2021 – Small Cell Forum (SCF), the telecoms organization making infrastructure solutions available to all, today unveiled a proposed global framework for hosted Open RAN networks combining the qualities of established and emerging neutral host architectures ranging from site share and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) to small cells with Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and Joint Operator Technical Specifications for Neutral Host In-Building (JOTS NHIB). The proposal is available to download from

SCF Logo
SCF Logo

TowerCos and neutral hosts have long worked with MNOs in supporting network deployments, particularly in scenarios where sharing is beneficial or essential. The deeper the sharing, the more savings are possible, the faster the deployment, and the more standardised the service offering to the MNOs. Neutral hosts recognize all mobile operators have unique strategies for their network build outs, and have different needs for incorporating hosted elements. At the same time, the mix of different sharing models presents complexity for the NH provider, so harmonised approaches are desirable.

Several regions are homing in on hosting frameworks which fit with the specifics of their markets- CBRS/OnGo in the US and JOTS NHIB in the UK. SCF neutral hosts see value in creating a global framework around these to recommend best practice and have proposed this as ‘Hosted Open RAN’. This will provide a flexible and modular approach to hosting to meet different MNO needs, whilst reducing complexity for neutral hosts to lower costs and enable scale.

“As Open RAN is revolutionising the way in which the mobile technology ecosystem can cooperate to build out 5G networks, so neutral host is having the same impact on the way in which networks are deployed and managed,” said Julius Robson, Chief Strategy Officer, Small Cell Forum. “Our Hosted Open RAN framework, developed by leading global neutral hosts and TowerCos, harmonises a global approach to neutral hosting and private networks supporting flexibility for MNOs and scalability for neutral host deployers.”

SCF244 Neutral Hosting Architectures was produced by Small Cell Forum with contributions from members including: Cellnex Telecom, Crown Castle, Colt Technologies, Dense Air, American Tower, BT, Freshwave, Wireless Infrastructure Group, Extanet Systems, Commscope and JMA.

The group is currently working on detailed requirements for the Hosted Open RAN framework and welcomes contributions service and technology providers active in this space.

About Small Cell Forum
Small Cell Forum develops the technical and commercial enablers to accelerate small cell adoption and drive wide-scale densification.

Broad roll-out of small cells will make high-grade mobile connectivity accessible and affordable for industries, enterprises and for rural and urban communities. That, in turn, will drive new business opportunities for a widening ecosystem of service providers.
Those service providers are central to our work program. Our operator members establish the requirements that drive the activities and outputs of our technical groups.

We have driven the standardization of key elements of small cell technology including Iuh, FAPI, nFAPI, SON, services APIs, TR-069 evolution and the enhancement of the X2 interface. These specifications enable an open, multi-vendor platform and lower barriers to densification for all stakeholders.

Today our members are driving solutions that include:

  • 5G Components, Products, Networks
  • Dis-aggregated 5G Small Cells
  • Planning, Management and Automation
  • 5G regulation & safety
  • Neutral Hosts & Multi-operator
  • Private and Public Network coexistence
  • Edge compute with Small Cell Blueprint
  • End-to-end orchestration

The Small Cell Forum Release Program has now established business cases and market drivers for all the main use cases, clarifying market needs and addressing barriers to deployment for residential, enterprise, rural & remote, and urban small cells. It has also established initiatives relating to both public and private (MNO) coordination. The Small Cell Forum Release Program website can be found here:

Media Contact
Richard Howson
Temono for Small Cell Forum
+44 (0) 7833 693 862