Vodafone Ireland Announces Partnership with Parallel Wireless on Ireland’s First Open Radio Access Network (OpenRAN), bringing 4G coverage to 30 new locations
18 November 2020
- Open RAN technology paves the way for faster roll-out of remote rural mobile coverage using alternative technology partners
Vodafone will become the first operator in Ireland to switch on an Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) sites, in partnership with Parallel Wireless, a U.S. provider of Open RAN solutions. The innovative technology, which is being initially trialled in North Kildare and then rolled out across the North West region, will deliver new 4G service coverage to 30 locations in a faster and more cost efficient way.
In a traditional Radio Access Network, both the hardware and software elements are products from the same vendor and work closely in tandem with each other. However, the new Open RAN system allows telecommunications operators to deploy their own software on generic hardware in the Radio Access Network.
This allows one supplier’s software to be integrated within another supplier’s radio and server hardware, which was not previously possible. As a result, alternative, smaller vendors can now increase the supply of radio network access equipment and software - making the market more competitive by avoiding vendor lock-in.
In addition, Vodafone will also pioneer the use of system integrators to further improve product automation covering zero touch provisioning, testing and operational process definition for Open RAN, and in doing so, further developing the ecosystem to include RAN automation vendors.
The announcement today follows a commitment from Vodafone Group to use emerging Open RAN technology for at least 2,600 sites in the UK. It is the largest confirmed promise made by a European carrier to embrace technology companies from outside the established supply chain.
Vodafone Ireland Chief Technology Officer, Didier Clavero said: “Delivering Open RAN sites is a pivotal moment in the provision of mobile coverage to rural communities in Ireland, as this pioneering new approach reduces cost, increases flexibility and enables new suppliers to support the expansion of Vodafone’s mobile network in hard to reach areas. Focusing on the North West region to begin with, we will continue to identify communities across Ireland where we can more economically introduce access to voice and high-speed data using the new technology.”
Parallel Wireless’ Chief Operating Officer, Keith Johnson, said: “Through their ongoing innovation, Vodafone has gained a first-hand understanding of how Open and software-defined RAN can simplify deployments while reducing TCO. This has served as the foundation of our ongoing partnership and has allowed us to make great strides around the deployments of Open RAN globally. We are proud to support Vodafone Ireland as their strategic partner in helping them to reimagine wireless networks with Open RAN to be much lower cost ensuring access to connectivity across the region. As a leading innovator, Vodafone Ireland is setting the standard for providing better 4G experience for the consumers and businesses. By shifting networks to virtualized OpenRAN, quality coverage can be delivered to many new subscribers at much lower cost with faster time-to-market.”
Attilio Zani, TIP´s Executive Director said “We are thrilled to move our focus to System Integration in OPEN RAN as new tools, processes are needed to capture the potential of the OPEN RAN Technology. It´s also essential that we provide early operational feedback to the Radio Solutions that are still in development stage”