04 March 2020
O2 has unveiled an open radio access network (O-RAN) project to broaden its number of infrastructure partners.
It is particularly useful for coverage in hard to reach rural locations – such as an area with a very small population – or where a sharing model is more cost effective such as dense urban locations where large numbers of small cells are required.
O2 has partnered with Mavenir, Dense Air and Wave Mobile to implement O-RAN in London and other UK locations and the company expects commercial deployment of O-RAN to pick up pace over next 18-24 months.
Brendan O’Reilly, CTO of O2 said: “By opening up our radio access network to smaller vendors, and as we look towards wider adoption of 5G, O-RAN will be part of the solution to bring the latest connectivity to more people around the country”.
The operator will use Mavenir former to increase coverage and capacity in London, providing enhanced mobile connectivity in busy areas like stadiums and shopping centres.
“Densification of coverage in cities is a challenge but OpenRAN is ready to take it forward and Mavenir is proud to work with O2,” said Stefano Cantarelli, CMO of Mavenir.
Dense Air will work at Millbrook to deploy both 4G and 5G networks over an O-RAN solution.
O2 works with Millbrook Proving Ground as the public and private network provider of 5G connectivity for the testing and development of CAV technology.
“Dense Air and Airspan Networks, our technology partner, have built a unique hyper-dense pervasive 4G and 5G O-RAN based solution at Millbrook,” said Paul Senior, CEO of Dense Air. “The O-RAN deployment which utilises over 70 radio nodes, 19km Fibre and mmWave front haul delivers network capacity at a scale never seen before at any Proving Ground, allowing the validation of future CAV (Connected and Autonomous Vehicle) use cases”.
Coverage solutions are being developed with Wave Mobile whose current O-RAN network is active on several sites across the UK including Woldingham, Surrey that carries mobile traffic for O2 customers.
The provider said this could be expanded to provide community based mobile services in “not spots”.
“We are proud to be working with O2 by providing hard to reach and low consumer density areas with essential coverage,” said Anthony Timson, CTO of WaveMobile said. “Cost optimised O-RAN technology allows greater capacity and simpler configuration which massively benefits the end user”.