Vodafone Group plans to launch an OpenRAN tender across its entire European network within weeks of announcing the first trials in Europe.
Yago Tenorio (pictured above, photo courtesy of TIP), Head of Network Strategy and Architecture at Vodafone, made the announcement at the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) summit taking place this week in Amsterdam.
The OpenRAN project within TIP, which Vodafone co-chairs, aims to connect communities which lack telecoms access by reducing the cost of providing internet and voice services through standardising the design and functionality of the hardware and software in the radio access network (RAN). This should also increase the number of companies that can supply the components.
Vodafone’s OpenRAN tender will cover more than 100,000 sites and 400 million people across 14 countries. Tenorio said it was likely “the biggest tender in this industry in the world”.
He is also quoted as saying, “It’s a really significant opportunity for OpenRAN to scale. We are willing to swap out sites if we have to. Our ambition is to have modern, up-to-date, lower-cost kit in every site.”
The announcement comes after Vodafone initiated the first European trials of OpenRAN last month in the UK.
It has also launched OpenRAN trials in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique, building on experience from trials in South Africa and Turkey.
The trial sites across the UK, DRC and Mozambique will provide 2G, 3G and 4G services, and 5G is a possibility over OpenRAN in the future, Vodafone said.