Vodafone updates on 5G Open RAN expansion

Vodafone plans to accelerate 5G Open RAN expansion across Europe, beginning open network initiatives in Germany and Spain, while enhancing its 5G network in the U.K.
Vodafone 5G ItalySamsung Electronics is one of the partners for the 5G Open RAN expansion. Vodafone UK has already launched the first 5G Open RAN site in Bath, U.K. in January 2022, using Samsung’s virtualized RAN (vRAN) solution.

Vodafone and Samsung are proving stable performance and capacity in Vodafone’s network, exceeding targeted performance level and power savings in its strategic Open RAN sites, located in Exmouth and Torquay, England.

“As we grow and scale our network, we are excited to jointly drive collaborative Open RAN innovation and continue our groundbreaking work together with Samsung,” said Santiago Tenorio, Director of Network Architecture for Vodafone.

Vodafone UK implemented Samsung’s O-RAN compliant Massive MIMO radios in commercial network, efficiently expanding 5G coverage in the U.K. With this, Samsung’s 64T64R Massive MIMO radios are now integrated with 5G vRAN, carrying commercial data traffic.

Recently, Vodafone also completed a data call using Samsung’s vRAN and NEC’s Massive MIMO radio, demonstrating multi-vendor interoperability for Vodafone’s commercial network. This illustrates how Open RAN technology can enable multi-vendor integration of vRAN, not only with single-band radios but also with more complex Massive MIMO radios.

Vodafone Germany will carry out pilot projects for Open RAN using Samsung’s 2G/4G vRAN and O-RAN compliant radio solutions.

Vodafone Spain’s testbed in Ciudad Real was created to benchmark mature RAN providers and compare performance across both traditional and Open RAN. Samsung will deploy its Massive MIMO radios and 4G/5G vRAN in CREATE (Ciudad Real España Advanced Testing Environment) to evaluate and verify their performance in Spain’s urban environment.

“Samsung’s virtualized Open RAN solutions are running in Vodafone’s commercial network in the U.K., delivering performance on par with traditional mobile radio networks and providing Vodafone with an agile network on which to deploy new services and features,” said Thomas Riedel, Head of Samsung Networks Europe.

Samsung announced enhancements to its Samsung Cloud Orchestrator (SCO) — a solution that automates the lifecycle management of large-scale virtualized Radio Access Networks (vRAN). SCO streamlines the onboarding, deployment and operation processes, making it easier for operators to manage cell sites from a unified platform.