BT taps Nokia for UK open RAN trial - Mobile World Live

BT taps Nokia for UK open RAN trial

26 JAN 2022

BT Group made its first major public announcement about open RAN trials, unveiling a deployment using Nokia equipment in the UK city of Hull and revealing plans to open an innovation centre dedicated to the network architecture.

The pilot will use a Nokia RAN intelligent controller (RIC) across several sites in the city, with the aim of optimising network performance for local EE customers. BT’s open RAN innovation centre is set to commence operations later this year at its existing Adastral Park R&D facility.

In a statement the operator noted the trial “underlined its ongoing commitment to the development and deployment of open RAN technology” adding it aimed to use architecture wherever it would enhance network performance.

UK moves
BT has been notably quieter on open RAN than rivals Vodafone UK and O2 UK.

At an event late in 2021, BT chief architect Neil McRae noted the operator supported open RAN and had conducted a lot of work behind closed doors, even if he did then attempt to dampen some of the hype.

McRae also hinted the adoption of open RAN did not necessarily mean it would increase its number of suppliers. While BT opted for existing supplier Nokia in this trial, Vodafone announced various partners including Samsung for its moves.

After O2 was combined with Virgin Media, the company trialled compatible equipment from Samsung.

All four major operators back a UK government aim to for at least 35 per cent of the nation’s mobile network traffic to run over open RAN by 2030.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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