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5G Challenge

The 5G Challenge is Open to Contestants

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NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is hosting the 5G Challenge in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD) to accelerate the adoption of open interfaces, interoperable components, and multi-vendor solutions.

The 5G Challenge Preliminary Event: RAN Subsystem Interoperability comprises the first of two 5G Challenge competitions. In this first-year event, NTIA/ITS will award up to $3,000,000 to contestants who submit hardware and/or software solutions for one or more of these 5G network subsystems:

  • Distributed Unit (DU)
  • Central Unit (CU)
  • Radio Unit (RU)

Interested contestants are encouraged to submit white papers to by 7:00pm ET on May 5, 2022.

After evaluating early-bird white papers, the 5G Challenge selected Rakuten Mobile USA’s DU and CU subsystems for interoperability testing with the 5G Challenge host lab, CableLabs. Early-bird applicants who were not selected can submit again by the final deadline on May 5, 2022.

Visit to learn more about event details, rules, host lab capabilities, judging, and prizes!

ITS, the Nation’s Spectrum and Communications Lab, supports the Department of Defense through a combination of its subject matter experts in 5G and its Boulder research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) laboratory infrastructure, including the Advanced Communications Test Site at the Table Mountain Radio Quiet Zone. ITS performed the engineering analysis of responses to the Notice of Inquiry that informed the creation of this Challenge.

To receive Challenge updates, send an email request to and follow the 5G Challenge at

April 06, 2022