Vodafone has started trials of its new open-access radio network technology in the UK. The mobile operator has been co-developing the technology, called OpenRAN, with Intel.
According to Reuters, OpenRAN standardises the hardware and software of cellular infrastructure, including that which is used in antennae and masts.
The development could see Vodafone lessening its reliance on dominant telecommunications equipment providers like Nokia, Ericsson, and Huawei for its mobile network infrastructure.
The knock-on effect could possibly mean cheaper data and call costs for Vodafone’s customers. Vodafone trialed the technology in South African laboratories before deploying it in 2G and 4G services in Turkey.
The introduction to the UK includes rolling out the technology to 120 rural areas. Vodafone also plans to expand testing to Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Vodafone is collaborating with the US-based companies Mavenir and Parallel Wireless and Lime Microsytems in the UK. Vodafone CEO Nick Read stated that the company was prepared to bring wider access to OpenRAN across Europe.
“OpenRAN improves the network economics enabling us to reach more people in rural communities and that supports our goal to build digital societies in which no one is left behind,” Read said.