The OpenRAN 4G site will extend mobile services to rural communities
Vodafone UK has switched on an OpenRAN 4G site around the Royal Welsh Showground in Powys, Wales with support from Mavenir. The plan is to use OpenRAN to more cost-effectively extend 4G services to rural communities and introduce new suppliers in the radio network.
The deployment also has a virtualized RAN, which the vendor said will deliver “cost effectiveness, increased flexibility and agility to the mobile operators, whilst providing one architecture for many different deployment scenarios.”
By using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and new innovative virtualized and open solutions, OpenRAN promises a decrease in cost and an increase in flexibility, agility and speed of rollout. OpenRAN’s foundational principle of open interfaces and product interoperability has been gaining in popularity for some time and is based on initiatives from the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and O-RAN Alliance.
In a press release, Vodafone UK CTO Scott Petty claimed that the deployment is the UK’s first live OpenRAN site, adding, “The introduction of the technology enables us to introduce new suppliers, such as Mavenir, giving us greater flexibility when rolling out our mobile network. We’re proud to be pioneering the development of OpenRAN and will be monitoring the performance of this first site.”
In the U.S., Mavenir is working with Dish on the development of its cloud-native OpenRAN 5G network. In addition, Mavenir has teamed up with another network virtualization provider Altiostar, and the pair will work together with equipment OEMs to develop radio units compatible with the frequency bands used by Tier 1 U.S. operators as well as smaller carriers with rural and regional operations.