Vodafone Group has unveiled the strategic vendors which will jointly deliver what it claims will be the ‘first commercial deployment of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) in Europe’, with these being: Dell, NEC, Samsung Electronics, Wind River, Capgemini Engineering and Keysight Technologies. In a press release regarding the matter, Vodafone said its initial focus will be on the 2,500 sites in the UK that it committed to Open RAN in October 2020. Suggesting this will be one of the largest deployments in the world, the company confirmed that the infrastructure will be built jointly with Dell, NEC, Samsung and Wind River. Meanwhile, Vodafone said it also expects to use new radio equipment defined under the Evenstar programme (a joint initiative it contributes to), with Capgemini Engineering and Keysight Technologies expected to provide support to ensure interoperability between all the components. Starting this year, the vendors will work with Vodafone to extend 4G and 5G coverage to more rural places across the South West of England and most of Wales, moving into urban areas in a later phase.
With Vodafone Group saying it is also working to launch Open RAN in other countries within both Europe and Africa, Johan Wibergh, the company’s chief technology officer, was cited as saying: ‘Open RAN provides huge advantages for customers. Our network will become highly programmable and automated meaning we can release new features simultaneously across multiple sites, add or direct capacity more quickly, resolve outages instantly and provide businesses with on-demand connectivity.’