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Vodafone UK Switches on 2 New 4G OpenRAN Sites in Cornwall

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 (2:14 pm) - Score 2,376

Mobile operator Vodafone has today announced that they’ve switched on two new rural 4G Open Radio Access Network (OpenRAN) sites in Cornwall – Fistral Beach in Newquay and the community of St Keverne on The Lizard. The two locations are only the second and third such sites to go live on their UK network.

At present if a mobile operator wants to buy new network kit then they can usually only pick from a handful of big suppliers (Nokia, Ericsson etc.). The O-RAN approach seeks to standardise the design and functionality of such kit and software, thus increasing the number of companies able to supply them via vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology (the RAN side includes infrastructure, masts and antennae).

Last year Vodafone became the first operator to announce plans for a major UK rollout of O-RAN to upgrade 2,600 sites (here), mostly in rural Wales and South West England. But the full deployment of that won’t actually start until 2022 and will then run until 2027, which is because the ecosystem (suppliers, kit, software etc.) around this is still developing, and they need to foster more suppliers.

The new deployments in Cornwall are thus all about laying the groundwork for that future rollout and hundreds more rural communities in the South West are set to follow over the next few years.

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK, said:

“Our roots in Cornwall and the South West go back a long way. From our investment in and around historic Porthcurno to brand new OpenRAN technology being installed at Fistral Beach and St Keverne, we are committed to investing in Cornwall and connecting its people and businesses. It’s brilliant to see Vodafone is using its tech and connectivity to help tackle the digital divide in the South West where we are providing free connectivity to community and youth centres across the region in partnership with Good Things Foundation.”

At the time of writing, we don’t know precisely what suppliers and kit have been picked for the two new O-RAN deployments, but the prize for getting this right could easily be reflected by cost savings, greater coverage and more network flexibility.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
15 Responses
  1. Mark says:

    Is this updates to existing masts? Or 2600 new builds by 2027?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Not enough detail in the announcement to answer that, but in their first deployment it was all entirely new.

  2. William Wilkinson says:

    O-RAN sounds like a brilliant solution.

    [Admin note: Post edited to remove potentially racist language – please be careful what you type]

    1. 125us says:

      Bit racist.

    2. Scott says:

      Casual (or in this case explicit) racism not required thank you. Hopefully this post will be removed/user banned.

    3. Vince says:

      Although we’re waiting to see what the evidence of any wrong doing by Huawei is, as to date nobody has found anything actually wrong. In reality what’s happened is America has come up with some claims, mostly because it was losing out in the race to be around for the next generation technology, and the UK originally said nope, we’re not getting duped, then naturally, we backed down and joined this fiasco.

      I don’t think I’ve seen any actual evidence from qualified sources to show any actual wrong doing… by the Chinese company. The same can’t be said of certain other countries

    4. Mark says:

      Nimbys and the out of date planning system will do more harm I suspect, than any foreign government!

    5. JmJohnson says:

      Poorly phrased but yes… Chinese entities (not people) in general are known for IP theft.
      I also worry about others immediate interpretation without considering context.

    6. Scott says:

      JmJohnson says:
      June 9, 2021 at 12:46 am
      I also worry about others immediate interpretation without considering context.

      >> Absolutely no need to worry as (in my case) it was fully understood. Context is important and the poster did not provide any.

      Labelling an entire nation/ethnicity is wrong. Highlighting a particular national government (in context) or company (with ref to its origin country) would have not fallen foul.

      It seems a little ironic you highlight context whilst possibly overlooking the complete lack of it. 🙂

    7. JmJohnson says:

      There’s more to context than preceding statements.
      The forum for communication also provides context.
      We’re on a Internet/Tech website so entities referenced as the poster did are to be considered within that context… ie Chinese Tech entities.

      Go to a space forum and you’ll find they often reference the US or the Russians. They aren’t talking about the people of the nation but the space agencies of each.

      Now I’m not defending him. I’ve already said it was poorly articulated.
      He should have assumed that people would miss the context (as you have) and elaborated further/clarified.

    8. Scott says:

      JmJohnson says:
      June 9, 2021 at 2:16 pm
      We’re on a Internet/Tech website so entities referenced as the poster did are to be considered within that context… ie Chinese Tech entities.

      >> I understand but politely disagree. The opening line demonstrated the poster understood the technology then went on to a rant. I’m not convinced that the entity could be assumed in the context you suggest. It’s ok to disagree though and thank you for replying.

  3. Dell Skinner says:

    why do you lie so much your network is crap infact double crap everyone should move to tesco mobile

    1. Michael V says:

      With Tesco mobile using O2’s networks, O2 is kinda crappy around South Wales & the rest of our country.
      Excellent for you, granted, but Vodafone has really improved around here, it’s my mobile number 2.
      Plus Three is my main provider & with so much improvement, I’d rate it higher than O2!

    2. Bubbles says:

      Wouldn’t touch Tesco with a barge pole. No 4G Calling, No VoWiFi. I’m not going to be the one who sounds like darth vader with a voice changer over the phone!

    3. Bubbles says:

      +I’m a three & vodafone customer and i rate them both, three more so as they have faster 4g and also 5g in my area now though.

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