Virgin Media O2, NEC and Rakuten activate Open RAN sites

Virgin Media O2, NEC and Rakuten activate Open RAN sites
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Virgin Media O2, NEC, and Rakuten have activated their first commercial sites as part of an Open RAN partnership.

Open RAN helps to break up the relative monopoly held by a handful of telecom equipment vendors and provides greater diversity in national infrastructure.

“The successful activation of Virgin Media O2’s first UK macro-sites demonstrates the potential of the multi-vendor Open RAN model,” said Jeanie York, CTO at Virgin Media O2.

“We are strong believers in the power of diverse Open RAN ecosystems and in NEC, we have a partner that really shares our view. Its industry-leading system integration capabilities are integral in helping us deliver the mobile networks of the future, today.”

This latest multi-vendor Open RAN deployment, the first on Virgin Media O2’s commercial network, follows extensive testing at NEC’s Global Open RAN Centre of Excellence lab in Ruislip, London. 

Mayuko Tatewaki, Senior Vice President at NEC, commented:

“NEC is true to its mission to deliver the most open Open RAN solutions to the telecoms and mobile industries.

We have great synergy with Virgin Media O2 in this respect and the company is a true leader in progressing Open RAN in the UK.

The activation of the UK macro-sites together, in partnership with Rakuten Symphony and an ecosystem of industry leaders, showcases the potential of a fully open network. We’re excited to be driving this innovative project that brings us a step closer to realising our multi-vendor Open RAN vision.”

NEC acted as system integrator for the deployment while Rakuten Symphony provided the Open RAN software, edge cloud, and radio management and operations system.

“Rakuten Symphony and NEC have complementary solutions providing advanced and highly automated Open RAN, edge cloud and proven operational systems, and this deployment in the UK for Virgin Media O2 demonstrates innovation and technology leadership by the mobile operator,” said Rabih Dabboussi, Chief Business Officer of Rakuten Symphony.

“Rakuten Symphony’s Open RAN software, combined with NEC’s world-class radios and system integration capabilities, validate the transformative potential that Open RAN technology brings to the industry.”

(Photo by Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash)

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