These new sites, based in Cornwall, will be only the second and third of their kind to go live in the UK

Back in August 2020, Vodafone UK first demonstrated its commitment to Open RAN technology by activating an Open RAN 4G site in Wales alongside Mavenir. At the time, the operator celebrated being the first UK operator to have Open RAN technology deployed in its live network.

Since then, the operator has made far larger commitments to Open RAN. In November 2020, Vodafone UK said that it would be looking to contract Open RAN vendors to replace a third of the Huawei equipment that they are mandated by the government to remove from their networks by 2027. This equates to around 2,600 sites that will receive the upgrade. 
Later, at the start of 2021, Vodafone Group was among five major European operators to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to help co-develop the interoperable RAN technology.
Now, as part of Vodafone UK’s investment in the Southwest of the UK, the company has announced that is it also switching on two new Open RAN sites in Corwall, one in Fistral Beach, Newquay, and another in St Keverne. According to Vodafone, these new sites will be the second and third live Open RAN sites in the country. 
“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,” said Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK.
The announcement noted that “hundreds more rural communities” could benefit from the rollout of Open RAN technology by 2027 – presumably being deployed as a result of the aforementioned Huawei ban.
Meanwhile, April saw Vodafone UK open a new Open RAN innovation lab in Newbury, aiming to help vendors develop their solutions.
“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,” said Dona.
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