Daily Management Review

Vodafone Challenges Network Suppliers As It Partners With Intel On OpenRAN


Vodafone Challenges Network Suppliers As It Partners With Intel On OpenRAN
Vodafone is partnering with Intel Corp. and other silicon manufacturers to develop its own chip architecture for the fledgling OpenRAN network technology, with the goal of weakening incumbent telecoms equipment suppliers' grip.
OpenRAN allows operators to mix and match providers in their radio networks, offering a challenge to the proprietary technologies of Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia, who now dominate the worldwide telecoms equipment industry.
Since some governments have restricted or discouraged the use of Huawei's equipment in national networks, OpenRAN development has gained traction.
Vodafone's plan, based in Malaga at its digital innovation and R&D center, will also help the European Union improve its chip industry and double its share of worldwide production to 20 per cent after losing ground to Asian and American vendors.
According to Reuters, OpenRAN will allow Vodafone's director of network architecture, Santiago Tenorio, to quickly introduce new digital services and optimize networks using artificial intelligence (AI).
"It will bring disruptive innovation back to the network," he said.
OpenRAN enables software and hardware components of the radio access network to communicate with one another, expanding the pool of vendors and lowering the entry barrier.
Vodafone launched Britain's first 5G OpenRAN site serving real customer traffic earlier this month in Bath, western England, setting off a deployment that will include 2,500 sites by 2027.
The R&D center will unite 50 OpenRAN experts together with 650 software engineers, architects, and technicians in the Spanish capital, where the British corporation is investing 225 million euros ($251 million) over five years. It will debut on Monday.
Tenorio stated that Vodafone will create hardware for the ARM and RISC-V instruction sets as well as Intel x86, despite the fact that Intel was up to three years ahead of competitors and had already played a crucial role in the creation of OpenRAN.
Qualcomm, Broadcom, ARM, and Lime Microsystems are among the other 20 companies that have joined the project, with half of the total coming from Europe, according to the business.