OpenRAN, developed by Vodafone and Intel, standardises the design of hardware and software in the infrastructure, masts and antennae that make up the radio access network that carries mobile calls and data. It defines and builds 2G, 3G and 4G RAN solutions based on a general-purpose vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology.
Vodafone has trialed the technology in laboratories in South Africa and deployed it in Turkey to deliver 2G and 4G services to customers in both urban and rural areas. It could enable customers to make calls and access data at a lower cost.
Chief Executive Nick Read said Vodafone was ready to fast track OpenRAN into Europe as it seeks to expand its list of vendors.
“OpenRAN improves the network economics enabling us to reach more people in rural communities, and that supports our goal to build digital societies in which no one is left behind”, he said.
Vodafone said it was working with companies including US-based Parallel Wireless and Mavenir and UK-based Lime Microsystems on OpenRAN technology.
It said it would launch OpenRAN in 120 rural areas in Britain on Monday and would start trials in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.