Mavenir CMO and EVP Stefano Cantarelli (pictured) told Mobile World Live neutral host deals are driving demand for the company’s open RAN products in the UK.

Recent projects in the country from neutral host providers Ontix and Vilicom are providing opportunities for the software provider, which supplied each with its MAVAir software to provide an open, virtualised RAN.

Ontix and Vilicom equip enterprise locations with radio infrastructure which operators then pay to connect to: the former is deploying infrastructure in its own buildings as a proof-of-concept and Vilicom is building a private LTE network at an offshore windfarm.

Mavenir is also deploying Sercomm small cells at an Ontix office building and its own open RAN platform at the neutral host company’s data centre.

Cantarelli said each small cell incorporates a radio and base station, and can support two mobile operators. Ontix is using the 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz bands, with virtualisation creating “two logical base stations”, Cantarelli explained.

Mavenir provides the Centralised Unit (CU) for Ontix, with a sector security gateway allowing communication between this and the radios over Ethernet. While noting Ontix used a solo radio vendor, Cantarelli added Mavenir has other deployments using more than one.

The software company is on track to become a radio vendor itself, agreeing a supply deal with satellite operator Ligado Networks in July.