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Vodafone joins Open RAN Policy Coalition to advance vendor diversity in global supply chains

2020-05-06 13:59:02


Vodafone has become a founder member of the Open RAN Policy Coalition, which will promote policies to advance the adoption of open and interoperable solutions in the Radio Access Network (RAN) as a means to create innovation, spur competition and expand the supply chain for mobile technologies including 5G. 


Past generations of mobile networks were deployed using fully integrated cell sites, where the radios, hardware and software were provided by a single manufacturer as a closed system. Now the industry is working towards open RAN standards and technical specifications that define open interfaces between the radios, hardware and software so that networks can be deployed using multiple vendors.


Vodafone has been a leading advocate for open RAN approaches as part of the industry association, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), which it now Chairs. While open RAN is still a maturing technology, where there is still a need to catch up with existing vendors from the point of view of performance, cost and industrialisation, Vodafone is actively trialling open RAN technology in the UK, Ireland, Turkey, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Group, said:


“The lack of supplier diversity for network equipment lies at the heart of the concerns over the resilience and security of critical national infrastructure. Vodafone is focused on expanding our supply chain options through engaging with open RAN vendors and encouraging newer network providers, to ensure the optimal balance across suppliers. Our industry leading trials of open RAN have underlined that this is the most promising route to advance niche suppliers, to supplement the large vendors, especially for radio equipment and software.”


Joakim Reiter, External Affairs Director, Vodafone Group, said:


“Vodafone has devoted significant efforts for many years to reverse the trend of concentration in suppliers. Open RAN innovation offers the best available option to achieve this objective within a reasonable timeframe. Through the Open RAN Policy Coalition we are hoping this technology will leap ahead in partnership not only with other leading industry players but also governments. We encourage  authorities – not least in Europe – to include open RAN deployments as part of their future industrial strategies and provide support for R&D, piloting and deployment of open RAN as well as to start-ups in radio software. In Africa, we would encourage open RAN as part of international financial institutions’ assistance to bridge digital divides and ensure far more people enjoy the benefits of connectivity, which in light of Covid-19 has never been more urgent.”


The Open RAN Policy Coalition founding members include: Airspan; Altiostar; AT&T; AWS; Cisco; CommScope; Dell; DISH Network; Facebook; Fujitsu; Google; IBM; Juniper Networks; Mavenir; Microsoft; NEC Corporation; NewEdge Signal Solutions; NTT; Oracle; Parallel Wireless; Qualcomm; Rakuten; Samsung Electronics America; Telefónica; US Ignite; Verizon; VMWare; Vodafone; World Wide Technology; and XCOM-Labs.

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