UK’s first 5G OpenRAN site and first carriage of live traffic on macro site
Vodafone UK has switched on the UK’s first open radio access network for 5G mobiles (5G OpenRAN) – in the West Country city of Bath. The operator says it will now expedite the development of ecosystem of 2,500 5G and 4G OpenRAN sites.
The site in Bath is the first of 2,500 5G and 4G OpenRAN sites that Vodafone has committed to. Sadly, technical details of Britain’s debut installation are not given. Yesterday Telefónica Germany detailed the exact building facade on the Klenzestrasse in Munich’s Gaertnerplatzn that hosts its first small cell equipment.
Vodafone says it has championed the OpenRAN approach to building mobile networks ever since the idea was conceived in 2016. It says it is actively taking the OpenRAN approach to networking in many parts of the UK, despite the added complexity and integration involved in diversifying the number of suppliers.
Record of historic video call
To celebrate the event Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK’s chief network officer made a video call to Julia Lopez, the UK’s digital infrastructure minister. “This is the beginning of a new chapter for the mobile industry. Our team has been working tirelessly to take OpenRAN technology from a theory in our lab to our customers in the real-world – it’s remarkable how much has been achieved in such a short period of time,” said Dona.
“This phone call, the first in the UK to be made using 5G OpenRAN infrastructure, marks a big step forward for innovation in UK telecoms,” said infrastructure minister Lopez. The installation of equipment at the site is the start of what Vodafone claims is the first scaled OpenRAN project in Europe, with 2,500 sites committed by 2027. It is the first 5G OpenRAN site in the UK and the first time OpenRAN technology has been deployed on a UK macro site to carry live customer traffic.