Vodafone UK sees Open RAN as a way to ‘close the digital divide’



Mavenir worked with Vodafone UK to bring Open RAN site in Wales on-air

Vodafone has made clear it expects Open RAN technologies to play a big role across its multi-national network footprint. In its U.K. market, the operator recently said it has brought live a 4G Open RAN cell site at the Royal Welsh Showground in Polys, Wales.

Vodafone U.K. CTO Scott Petty called the move an “important milestone” said Open RAN can “make us less dependent on current larger technology suppliers, and find ways to reduce the cost of rolling out mobile coverage. Open RAN can also help close the digital divide between urban and rural Britain.”

In it’s statement, Vodafone U.K. identified U.S.-based Mavenir as its Open RAN vendor. Mavenir has an end-to-end portfolio of telecom software solutions and has both virtual and open radio access network products. According to reporting from Keith Dyer at The Mobile Network, Dell and Kontron servers for the central unit and distributed unit, respectively.

To Petty’s comment about closing the digital divide, Vodafone U.K. is also working with its competitors on the Shared Rural Network initiative where the country’s operators share cell sites to more economically expand coverage. This government-backed program is working to provide 4G coverage to 95% of the U.K.

Mavenir is a major proponent of Open RAN and is working with Altiostar, another leading open and vRAN supplier, to develop Open RAN-based radios, built by third-party OEMs, focused on the U.S. market. Several smaller U.S. carriers are having to remove Huawei equipment from their networks at the direction of federal lawmakers. Open RAN is being positioned as a secure, lower-cost option for new radio equipment.

Altiostar’s CEO Ashraf Dahod said the joint work with Mavenir “will ensure operators in the U.S. have a truly open end-to-end infrastructure that will be cost effective and allows them to grow their business.”






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