Vodafone opens R&D centre to design its own Open RAN chips

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Vodafone has opened Europe’s first dedicated R&D centre to help the operator design its own Open RAN chips.

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

An increasing number of governments and operators are supportive of Open RAN for its benefits of helping to lower costs, prevent vendor lock-in, and lessen the impact of decisions like banning Huawei from national networks.

Francisco Martin, Head of Open RAN at Vodafone, said:

“As a pioneer of Open RAN, Vodafone is joining forces with specialist technology companies to expand the ecosystem.

Silicon innovation will strengthen Europe’s position in the global market and speed up the rollout of new digital services.”

The operator’s claim of being an Open RAN pioneer is not without substance. Earlier this month, Vodafone switched on the UK’s first live 5G Open RAN site – as part of thousands it has planned – in partnership with Samsung, Wind River, Dell, Intel, Keysight Technologies, and Capgemini Engineering.

Vodafone’s dedicated Open RAN R&D centre is housed in the operator’s new digital skills hub in Málaga, Spain—where the British company is investing €225 million over five years.

50 personnel at Vodafone’s facility will be dedicated to Open RAN research. The researchers will be able to tap expertise from the 650 skilled software engineers, architects, and technicians based at the hub.

(Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash)

Related: UK Government announces Open RAN rollout target and 2G/3G sunsetting

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