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Immediate Release

DOD and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Launch 2023 5G Challenge for Open RAN with an Eye Toward Future Base Modernization

The FutureG & 5G Office in the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) is launching the 2023 5G Challenge. Sponsored by the FutureG & 5G Office and led by the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences division of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from the Department of Commerce, the 5G Challenge will accelerate the adoption of open interfaces, interoperable components, and multi-vendor solutions toward the development of an open 5G ecosystem. 

The “2023 5G Challenge: Advanced Interoperability” competition is open for applications on Applications must be submitted by 7 p.m. ET on March 1, 2023.

Challenge entrants will compete for up to $7 million in cash and prizes. With a congressional mandate to explore and realize the promise of open radio access network (Open RAN) technology, R&E uses the 5G Challenge to help validate Open RAN as the architecture of the future.

The 5G Challenge will help establish the deployment readiness of Open RAN systems — an important factor in future decisions about updating communications infrastructure on Department of Defense facilities under the base modernization initiatives in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. The military services will provide plans for such modernization this year and prepare to undertake them over the next three years at hundreds of DoD facilities.

The FutureG & 5G Office and the related 5G Cross Functional Team, the advisory body mandated by Congress to ensure 5G capabilities are established, sustained, and transitioned to operational use; provide key technical guidance to DoD as it undertakes upgrades to communications infrastructure on its facilities. Competitors’ solutions and results from the 5G Challenge will help inform the FutureG & 5G Office’s views on the ability of Open RAN systems to be competitive in forthcoming base communications infrastructure modernization initiatives. The office looks forward to broadening industry participation in the 2023 5G Challenge to show the way forward to a bright future for open RAN technology.

About USD(R&E)

The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at