Home5G & BeyondOrange, Vodafone complete 4G call on shared Open RAN in Romania

    Orange, Vodafone complete 4G call on shared Open RAN in Romania


    The operators have an agreement to run a series of pilots on shared Open RAN infrastructure across Europe

    Orange and Vodafone have completed a 4G call on a group of shared sites running Open RAN in a rural areas near Bucharest. The sites are integrated into the commercial network (picture of model courtesy of Vodafone).

    In February the operators announced they would run pilots on shared Open RAN infrastructure in rural areas where they both have mobile networks.

    Orange is drawing on its experience of Open RAN, such as with its Pikeo network based at its lab in Lannion, France, and Vodafone is pioneering the deployment of Open RAN in the UK, after successful pilots in Turkey and elsewhere.

    Shared tech stack

    The companies are using the same technology stack for their shared Open RAN sites which comprises a commercial, virtualised RAN solution from Samsung and implementation software from Wind River alongside Dell Poweredge servers.

    As a result of the test calls on their shared infrastructure, Orange and Vodafone are to work on 2G, which has already been validated in the lab, then progress to 5G. They say this will be the first time in Europe that 2G has been fully integrated into a virtualised open environment. The idea is that this approach will simplify implementation of more operationally complex solutions.

    Rural model

    Bruno Zerbib, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer in Orange, said in a statement [translated from Romanian]: “This first OpenGe pilot implementation is an important stage to prove that Open RAN is now a mature technology, ready to be launched over existing networks. It sets the scene for wider scale implementations within the group and opens the way to fully automated and intelligent networks.”

    Alberto Ripepi, Chief Network Officer in Vodafone, added [translated from Romanian]: “With Orange, we have developed a model that will serve as a reference for the expansion of mobile networks to rural communities in Europe. Open RAN sharing will allow us to reduce the costs by using the hardware components, [but] managing our own RAN software independently…to provide differentiated services to our customers. “