Vodafone unveils major urban OpenRAN milestone

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UK telecommunications giant Vodafone says it has succeeded in setting up the first commercial urban deployment of Open RAN (O-RAN) in Europe after successfully testing the technology in two separate towns. 

According to the company, the mobile subscribers who got to test the new technology enjoyed download rates of up to 700MBps. 

In a press release, Vodafone said it tested the technology in Torquay and Exmouth, two towns with a combined population of some 87,000 people. 

Numerous benefits

“As the first commercial urban deployment of Open RAN in Europe, we’ve been keen to test the network’s performance. From improved internet speeds to greater access to 5G, we can already see the benefits for customers in these towns,” said Vodafone chief network officer, Alberto Ripepi.

The company also said that over the course of the trial (one week), the technology’s uptime was 99%, while the download speeds were double what the town’s inhabitants previously enjoyed. With O-RAN, it says, consumers can make video calls, play games online, and stream high-quality content without delays, hiccups, or other connectivity issues, Vodafone says, claiming it’s thanks to Massive MIMO technology (multiple input, multiple output).

Vodafone expects O-RAN to facilitate the introduction of new and innovative features, resolve outages, and add capacity where it’s most needed. The company’s plan is to have roughly a third (30%) of all mobile sites in the EU run on O-RAN by the end of the decade. 

That’s going to be quite the endeavor, given that it has 14 live sites in the UK right now. A fifth of all sites in the country will be based on O-RAN across Wales and the West Country, Vodafone added. Its plan covers five cities in the areas, counting more than 100,000 citizens. 

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.