British telecoms giant Vodafone Group has reportedly outlined plans to launch a tender which will cover the group’s entire European footprint, with a view to a possible redesign of its infrastructure based on OpenRAN technology. According to Mobile World Live, the plans were announced by Head of Network Strategy and Architecture, Yago Tenoirio, at the TIP Summit in Amsterdam, with the executive saying: ‘Right now this is the biggest tender in this industry in the world … It’s a really big opportunity for OpenRAN to scale. We are ready to swap out sites if we have to. Our ambition is to have modern, up-to-date, lower-cost kit in every site.’ It is understood that Vodafone Group’s tender will cover more than 100,000 sites covering around 400 million people across 14 countries. Meanwhile, a Vodafone representative was quoted as saying that all companies taking part in the tender process – including traditional vendors – ‘will also have to comply with ORAN specifications’ as part of the company’s move to expand its list of suppliers.
The development comes only a month after Vodafone Group announced its first OpenRAN trials in Europe, with it having confirmed in October 2019 that its domestic unit was deploying OpenRAN technology in rural parts of the UK for the first time, while also at that date revealing it was launching OpenRAN trials in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique. With it now having also been confirmed that trials will also be undertaken in Ireland, it was noted that Parallel Wireless will work with Vodafone Group on the testing in that country, while Mavenir will be the vendor partner for the UK trials.