Vodafone Group head of network architecture Yago Tenorio (pictured) voiced optimism specialist players would be able to grasp a part of the open RAN ecosystem, despite large corporations such as Samsung and NEC taking large slices of current contracts.
Speaking at a media event in London the day it emerged open RAN pioneer Parallel Wireless was making mass lay-offs, Tenorio conceded it was players with large industry scale which currently held the advantage in the nascent sector.
“Industry scale helps a lot and what you’re seeing in open RAN today in the majority of cases are players that have scale in adjacent areas find it easier to move laterally,” he stated, noting this applied to the likes of Intel, Samsung, Dell, Qualcomm, Marvell Technology, NEC and others.
“In the future I want to believe that there will be a chance for newcomers,” he added, explaining future developments “might give some room for very specialised small companies to play a role, maybe more easily than it is today”.
The operator group had held trials with Parallel Wireless, but the vendor’s name was notably absent from the final list of suppliers announced for its UK rollout in 2021. The company’s main vendors in its ongoing project in its home market are Samsung Electronics, Dell, NEC and Wind River.
Discussing its ongoing open RAN UK project, Tenorio said Vodafone would install its first urban sites in the town of Torquay by the end of 2022.
He added its project to deploy the open architecture was “going exactly as per the plan” which has a target of having 30 per cent of its European network footprint using the approach by 2030.
Elsewhere at the event, Vodafone Group CTO Johan Wibergh outlined his hopes for satellite connectivity from partner AST Mobile, which aims to be able to provide ubiquitous signals to smartphones without the need for a specialist device.
The satellite company, which Vodafone is an investor in, is beginning a trial in August followed by plans to launch LEO birds over Africa in 2023.
“If you are sitting on an aeroplane or the middle of the ocean you can be reached on your mobile phone on your normal number,” Wibergh enthused. “We can provide coverage across the world and as long as there’s a reasonable charge we will use it.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back