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Vodafone deploys OpenRAN in urban locations

December 6, 2022

Vodafone has begun the latest phase of its OpenRAN deployment strategy to install the exciting technology on 16 mobile masts providing connectivity to customers in Exmouth and Torquay. The project will take place over the next few months. The deployment is the first time in Europe that OpenRAN has been deployed in an urban environment, providing live connectivity services to all consumer and business customers. To date, OpenRAN deployments have focused on more rural locations.

Vodafone has been working alongside the industry to advance OpenRAN technology, including through of its two OpenRAN Research and Development centres in Newbury and Malaga. This has enabled deployments in more complex environments (such as urban locations and transport hubs). 

Vodafone says that deployment of OpenRAN in an urban location demonstrates the technology is a viable alternative to traditional RAN in all scenarios, not just in rural locations. And with interoperability embedded at the foundation, OpenRAN is enabling Vodafone to work with businesses outside the traditional telecommunications ecosystem.

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK, commented: “Vodafone was one of the first companies worldwide to commit to OpenRAN at scale. The potential of OpenRAN is huge and clear to see. But to realise this potential, we need to deploy the technology out in the live network and take it from rural to urban locations.  This is what we have now done – taking lab innovations into the real world and an essential step forward for the health and resilience of our industry.”

As part of this latest deployment, Vodafone worked with Dell, Intel, Samsung, Wind River, and Capgemini, demonstrating the breadth and depth OpenRAN enables in the telecommunications supply chain.

Digital Infrastructure Minister, Julia Lopez, added: “Vodafone’s use of Open RAN in Devon is the first of its kind in Europe, proving once again that the UK is a leader in innovative solutions for mobile connectivity. We encourage other providers to roll out Open RAN in urban areas and continue to support a more diverse, innovative and resilient telecoms supply chain through our £250 million investment programme.”

At Mobile World Congress 2022, Vodafone committed to deploying OpenRAN on 30 per cent of mobile sites across its European network by 2030.  More recently, Vodafone began OpenRAN trials in Germany, as well as signed a Memorandum of Understanding (with NTT Docomo. A partnership has also been signed with Nokia to jointly develop a fully OpenRAN compliant solution that incorporates the Nokia’s ReefShark system on a chip (SoC).

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