As Open RAN picks up momentum in Europe, Qualcomm has stepped in to help Vodafone develop a technical blueprint to build disaggregated 5G networks

Vodafone and Qualcomm have announced plans to jointly develop reference designs for Open RAN technology.

The partners said that they would focus on 5G, pairing Vodafone’s experience with the emerging mobile technology with Qualcomm’s Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) solutions to create reference designs for testing. 

“Qualcomm Technologies aims to deliver cutting-edge technology for virtualized, flexible and interoperable 5G infrastructure across the globe,” said Gerardo Giaretta, Senior Director of Product Management at Qualcomm. “We look forward to expanding our efforts with Vodafone to support flexible and scalable 5G RAN deployments. Ecosystem collaborations like this play a critical role in allowing operators and industry verticals to more quickly and easily add 5G network coverage and capacity where and when it is needed most.”

Initial reference designs are expected to be published later this year, with trials planned to begin at the second half of 2022.

Vodafone’s commitment to Open RAN technology has become more and more apparent in recent months. Last year, Vodafone in the UK announced that it would replace a third of its outgoing Huawei equipment with an Open RAN alternative, the first vendor in the UK to commit to actively deploying the new technology.

Since then, Vodafone has joined Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, TIM, and Orange in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of the new technology paradigm and earlier this month even announced the creation of new Open RAN lab in the UK.

“We want to avoid a Catch-22 situation, where operators wait to buy perfect products, but the OpenRAN vendors need investment to perfect their products. This is why we are announcing this investment in a new R&D lab, as well as committing to 2,500 OpenRAN sites in the UK countryside,” explained Andrea Donà, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK.


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