IBM teamed with Airspan Networks to provide open RAN 5G testing to European operators, with plans to update a pair of current sites in Germany and France to cover multi-vendor integration.

The pair plan to provide a 5G-enabled open RAN testbed across IBM’s Watson IoT Centre in Munich and its Global Industry Solution Centre in Nice.

In a statement, the companies explained the goal is to use open RAN to conduct long-distance trials of technologies which will enable private 5G, including edge computing and network slicing.

Airspan Networks will provide the indoor radio units, and open RAN Centralised Unit and Distributed Unit. It is also supplying 5G-connected customer premise equipment to operators seeking to test use cases.

The 5G open RAN collaboration builds on previous technology testing initiatives in Europe by both companies.

IBM announced an Open RAN Centre of Excellence in Spain in 2020, and Airspan Networks opened a 5G Innovation Lab in the UK in May.

The move expands on recent IBM operator deals in the US, including constructing a hybrid cloud-platform to underpin Verizon’s core 5G network and a deal with Dish Network.