Vodafone Group extended a long-term research partnership with chip giant Intel and the University of Malaga on open RAN innovations, with a focus on deploying AI algorithms for future silicon technologies. 

The research will take place in Vodafone’s innovation centre in Spain, and the partners pointed to the exploration of AI and machine learning to develop “advanced” algorithms for open RAN platforms and 5G massive MIMO. 

This will cut the energy consumption of open RAN architecture while improving performance, the companies claimed.

The resulting algorithms and other innovations will be integrated into prototype platforms produced by Intel to “create new benchmarks for the advancement of silicon needed to drive powerful industrial internet applications”. For Vodafone, it will have the necessary processing power “to continually improve speeds and capacity for customers for years to come, while delivering critical services when and where they are needed”. 

Vodafone added the integration of AI algorithms across the network’s entire footprint can help it meet future demand and enhance new 5G features including network slicing, representing a “step change in computation without the need for multiple chipsets in radio units”. 

Dan Rodriguez, corporate VP and GM, Network and Edge Solutions Group at Intel said its work with Vodafone and other companies on next-generation technologies helps “foster a broad, open ecosystem”. 

The partners are already working toward Vodafone’s planned commercial deployment of 4th gen Intel Xeon processors with Intel vRAN boost in UK in the first half of this year. 

At an event held in October 2023, Vodafone network architecture director Santiago Tenorio said Intel provides sample silicons from US to develop prototypes it can test, verify and benchmark.