VMO2, NEC and Rakuten activate Open RAN sites in UK

now open sign neon

An Open RAN deployment collaboratively set up by VMO2, NEC and Rakuten is entering the ‘field phase’, with the activation of the first live sites in VMO2’s commercial network.

Based in Northamptonshire, the deployment on macro-sites is in a brownfield network and baselined on the existing Telco Cloud supply chain, and represent the first live Open RAN macro-sites in VMO2’s network. It is now operational and able to handle commercial traffic following successful trials last year at Rakuten Symphony’s labs in India and NEC’s Global Open RAN Centre of Excellence lab in London.

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

“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, Chief Technology Officer 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.”

Rabih Dabboussi, Chief Business Officer of Rakuten Symphony added: “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. 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.”

The release is full of talk about synergies, which considering Open RAN is all about bits of software and hardware from different companies working together, is a less obtuse usage than when corporations usually drop it into corporate comms. Open RAN is of course one of the industry’s hot topics and plenty of strong opinions can be found from its advocates and its detractors, so this news would seem to be a significant milestone. Check out what Ericsson had to say about the current state of Open RAN in our recent interview.


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  • Open RAN Ecosystem

One comment

  1. Avatar Andy Jones 30/08/2022 @ 2:09 pm

    Alas, no scoop about whose HW and SW is actually being deployed 😕

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