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Vodafone and Nokia to accelerate Open RAN plans

Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany - April 12, 2020: Logo of Vodafo

Vodafone and Nokia have agreed to work on a fully compliant Open RAN solution, the companies announced today.

Nokia is a well-known supporter of Open RAN and the partnership will help it meet its public target of having 30% of its European networks running on Open RAN by 2030.

Early next year, both firms aim to demonstrate an Open RAN baseband system which processes customer mobile traffic, using in-line layer 1 acceleration in a major step toward Open RAN adoption.

Johan Wibergh, chief technology officer at Vodafone said: “Open RAN is transforming networks from pure communications systems into platforms for innovation.

“It transforms mobile masts into automated software-driven, smart towers capable of supporting new applications for use in telemedicine, homes, transport, and factories.

“It is why we have spearheaded the technology, together with other like-minded companies, to live deployments.

“I’m delighted to see Nokia’s commitment to the club and I’m sure together we will maintain the flow of innovation in Europe.”

The combination of Nokia’s ReefShark advanced system on Chip (SoC), developed in cooperation with Marvell with standard commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) servers will allow the Open RAN system to reach functionality and performance parity with traditional mobile networks.

Nokia’s ReefShark SoC will boost Layer-1 processing which is necessary to connect users to the mobile base station and support high levels of mobile data traffic.

Vodafone is also working with the likes of Samsung and NTT DoCoMo to accelerate Open RAN performance and adoption and to drive greater system integration.

Alongside that, Vodafone has announced plans for an Open RAN commercial pilot in two rural areas in Germany starting in early 2023.