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Vodafone expands OpenRAN deployment across the UK

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Vodafone confirms plans to install OpenRAN on 16 mobile masts providing connectivity to customers in Exmouth and Torquay.

The project will be carried out over the next few months and is first time in Europe that OpenRAN has been deployed in an urban environment and to date, OpenRAN deployments have focused largely on rural locations.

As part of this porject, Vodafone worked with Dell, Intel, Samsung, Wind River, and Capgemini.

“Vodafone was one of the first companies worldwide to commit to OpenRAN at scale. The potential of OpenRAN is huge and clear to see," said Andrea Dona, chief network officer, Vodafone UK.

"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."

Vodafone has been advancing OpenRAN technology through of its two OpenRAN Research and Development centres in Newbury and Malaga, laying foundation for deployments in more complex environments, such as urban locations and transport hubs.

OpenRAN lowers the barrier for entry for alternative suppliers to add greater resilience and diversity to Vodafone’s supply chain, but also bolsters innovation by allowing suppliers to specialise in niche areas as opposed to providing “turnkey” solutions.

"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," added Julia Lopez, Digital Infrastructure Minister, UK.

"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 £250m investment programme."

At Mobile World Congress 2022, Vodafone committed to deploying OpenRAN on 30% of mobile sites across its European footprint 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.