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VMO2, NEC and Rakuten activate joint Open RAN sites

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Virgin Media O2 (VMO2), NEC Corporation and Rakuten Symphony have announced that their joint multi-vendor Open RAN deployment is entering the field phase, with the activation of the first live sites in VMO2’s commercial network.

Based in the Northamptonshire region, the deployment on macro-sites in the UK is notable for being in a brownfield network and baselined on the existing Telco Cloud supply chain.

The deployment follows a successful Open RAN lab trial on VMO2’s network with NEC, Rakuten Symphony and its other ecosystem partners last year.

The first live Open RAN macro-sites in VMO2’s network are possible after “extensive testing” at NEC and Rakuten’s labs in India and NEC’s Global Open RAN Centre of Excellence lab in Ruislip, London.

Jeanie York, CTO at Virgin Media O2, said, “The successful activation of Virgin Media O2’s first UK macro-sites demonstrates the potential of the multi-vendor Open RAN model.

“We are strong believers in the power of diverse Open RAN ecosystems and in NEC, we have a partner that really shares our view. Its industry-leading system integration capabilities are integral in helping us deliver the mobile networks of the future, today.”

VMO2 says that its Open RAN deployment aligns with the UK government’s efforts to diversify future telecom supply chains, recognising Open RAN’s importance in safeguarding security, resilience, innovation and competition in critical national infrastructure.

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