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Qualcomm and Vodafone buddy up to develop 5G Open RAN infrastructure

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US chip designer Qualcomm and UK operator group Vodafone are collaborating on high-performance, energy efficient 5G vDU and Massive MIMO RU solutions.

The two firms plan to develop, test and integrate next-generation 5G distributed units (DUs) and Radio Unit (RU) with Massive MIMO capabilities, with the purpose of enabling the commercial deployment of Open RAN in Europe.

The 5G Open RAN solutions will be powered by the Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card and the Qualcomm QRU100 5G RAN Platform. We’re told they are expected to offer ‘breakthrough power consumption performance to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO)’ as well as make networks environmentally sustainable, and lay the groundwork for next-generation networks with massive MIMO with 64T64R and 32T32R capabilities in future high-capacity dense urban scenarios.

“We look forward to broadening our collaboration with Vodafone to deliver the next wave of digital transformation and proliferate Open RAN deployments globally with high-performance, energy efficient radio and distributed unit solutions,” said Dino Flore, vice president, technology, Qualcomm. “By combining Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G leadership and Vodafone’s expertise in building large-scale networks, we can transform how modern networks are designed and next-generation services are delivered.”

Santiago Tenorio, director, network architecture, Vodafone added: “We congratulate Qualcomm Technologies on the recent sampling of the Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card and Qualcomm QRU100 5G RAN Platform, and we look forward to working alongside Qualcomm Technologies to test and deliver these platforms. This significant milestone is an important step forward to deliver the commercial deployment of Open RAN in Europe, and bring innovative, cost-effective and power-efficient Open RAN solutions.”

Vodafone is going full steam ahead with its Open RAN partnerships, announcing a slew of partnerships at the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP’s) Fyuz event in Madrid this week. Probably the most significant is a partnership with Nokia to jointly develop a fully Open RAN compliant solution that incorporates the latter’s ReefShark system on a chip (SoC).

The operator simultaneously announced It had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japan’s NTT DoCoMo that covers the harmonisation of Open RAN systems integration and testing, and another partnership with Samsung over virtualised RAN software.

 

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