Vodafone and Qualcomm team up to boost Open RAN ecosystem

Vodafone and Qualcomm team up to boost Open RAN ecosystem
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Vodafone and Qualcomm are teaming up to help more equipment suppliers enter the market through Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) technology.

OpenRAN is set to bring about a new paradigm for how telecoms networks are deployed. Free of vendor lock-in, operators can use the interoperable equipment which suits their particular needs for cost and performance.

Dino Flore, VP of Technology at Qualcomm Europe, said:

“Virtualisation and Open RAN offer a significant opportunity to make 5G networks more flexible and cost efficient, transforming them into a platform for innovation.

The collaboration to develop comprehensive solutions from Open RAN RU with MaMIMO capabilities to high performance DU platforms provides an important step forward in speeding up the transition to open, virtualised, and interoperable radio access networks.”

The new partnership between Vodafone and Qualcomm will see the pair develop Open RAN technical blueprints to help increase the diversification of solutions available.

Santiago Tenorio, Head of Network Architecture at Vodafone, commented:

“Global supply chains need a diverse and vibrant vendor ecosystem to keep them moving in the event of a product shortage or a single supplier having difficulties. Open RAN provides greater supplier diversity by allowing many more small vendors to compete on the world stage.

Following the recent launch of our new Open RAN Test and Validation Lab, combining the creativity of Vodafone Engineering with that of our partners, we’re delighted to be partnering with Qualcomm Technologies to give smaller suppliers the best start.”

Vodafone’s pioneering new Open RAN Test and Validation Lab is opening in Newbury, UK to advance the development – and accelerate the rollout – of the groundbreaking technology.

Matt Warman, UK Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: “Vodafone is paving the way in building mobile networks with a variety of different equipment suppliers and its Newbury facility will put the UK at the forefront of the telecoms revolution – creating new jobs and opportunities for other firms.”

Qualcomm has vast experience in developing high performance and low power Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) solutions for device and infrastructure products. This expertise will be combined with Vodafone’s proficiency in building high capacity, large-scale networks, to ensure Open RAN solutions are built with the capabilities to handle current and future demands.

Gerardo Giaretta, Senior Director of Product Management at Qualcomm Technologies, said:

“Qualcomm Technologies aims to deliver cutting-edge technology for virtualised, flexible, and interoperable 5G infrastructure across the globe. We look forward to expanding our efforts with Vodafone to support flexible and scalable 5G RAN deployments.

Ecosystem collaborations like this play a critical role in allowing operators and industry verticals to more quickly and easily add 5G network coverage and capacity where and when it is needed most.”

Initial Open RAN reference designs from the partners are expected to be published later this year—with trials expected to start in the second half of 2022.

Vodafone UK has committed to building 2,500 mobile sites using OpenRAN solutions.

(Image Credit: Vodafone)

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