Vodafone presses peers to take open RAN plunge - Mobile World Live

Vodafone presses peers to take open RAN plunge

10 NOV 2020

Vodafone Group executives called on global counterparts to follow its lead in committing to large-scale open RAN deployments, arguing a strong order pipeline is needed to help vendors fuel continued development of the technology.

During the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Insights Series EMEA event, Vodafone UK CTO Scott Petty (pictured) said the open RAN ecosystem is on the “precipice of being ready” for major rollouts, with current kit suitable primarily for low-density rural deployments, but added the industry is caught in “a little bit of a Catch-22” situation.

“As operators, we of course want perfect products at the prices that come with scaled market economics, but at the same time the vendors need scale commitments in the market to put in the development effort and needs required to perform in suburban and dense urban environments.”

Petty highlighted Vodafone’s recent commitment to deploy open RAN kit at 2,600 network sites by 2027, 1,150 of which are due to be converted by end-2023, urging other operators to follow suit.

Yago Tenorio, head of Group Network Architecture and TIP chairman, also pressed operators to consolidate their development requirements to ensure “we don’t ask different things of small vendors” which may not have the resources of larger players.

Lab work
Tenorio and Olivier Simon, global director of radio innovation at Orange, underscored the importance of development labs, citing them as key for complex integration testing.

Simon noted there are already four operator-led TIP Community Labs in Europe, adding Orange plans to open a fifth in Paris focused on trialling open interfaces, developing a RAN intelligent controller (RIC) and testing open RAN reference designs.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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