Vodafone Group commenced commercial rollout of open RAN equipment in 20 cities in Romania, a move following deployments in the UK and tests of the architecture elsewhere in its European footprint.

The Romania deployment follows trials in the country during 2023 and uses equipment from a range of vendors.

For the commercial rollout Samsung Electronics is supplying radio and baseband units covering 2G, 4G and 5G.

Dell Technologies servers are being used alongside Wind River software.

Vodafone has high hopes for the potential of open RAN in the country, highlighting it would eventually provide the opportunity for “operators to reduce costs by sharing all hardware components (for example radio units), while independently managing their own RAN software on a common cloud infrastructure”.

It also believes the flexibility of the architecture would allow its customers to take “full advantage” of standalone 5G, citing network slicing.

The operator group’s bullish stance on the approach is nothing new. It has been a prominent supporter for several years and is heavily involved in the Telecom Infra Project.

Vodafone claims during European trials and its commercial UK deployment, performance of open RAN equipment was either equal to or better than legacy kit in most measurements.

Discussing its latest launch, Vodafone chief network officer Alberto Ripepi said: “As new technologies like generative AI take root and are embedded within businesses, factories and every day online interactions, they will require intelligence-based networks powerful enough to support them. Open RAN is designed to do just that.”

The announcement is the company’s latest on upgrading its network in Romania in the space of a month, having previously inked a six year deal with Ericsson to modernise its infrastructure.