News | 21 Apr 2021

Government Minister hails new OpenRAN Lab at Vodafone UK HQ

New research and testing lab bolsters the UK’s leading position in developing this industry-changing technology.

In a move hailed by Matt Warman, the UK Government’s Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Vodafone UK has announced plans to open a new lab to further the development of OpenRAN technology.

It will put the “UK at the forefront of the telecoms revolution”, he said.

With OpenRAN, mobile network masts can be built using hardware and software from multiple vendors – rather than from just one.

Vodafone expects that this inherent flexibility in OpenRAN will lead to more companies offering mast equipment hardware and software. This greater competition should in turn lead to more innovative mast equipment designs. The new OpenRAN Lab at Vodafone UK’s Newbury campus will support and further spur on this budding industry, providing testing and validation with 30 engineers on-hand.

Welcoming the move, Mr Warman 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.”

Andrea Donà, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK, said: “The OpenRAN ecosystem is still in its infancy, and we want to spur its development.

“We want to avoid a Catch-22 situation, where operators wait to buy perfect products, but the OpenRAN vendors need investment to perfect their products. This is why we are announcing this investment in a new R&D lab, as well as committing to 2,500 OpenRAN sites in the UK countryside.

“OpenRAN promises meaningful benefits, including innovation, competition, and carbon savings. But we’ll only deliver these benefits if we support the ecosystem.”

Click here for the full press release.

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