Orange, Vodafone expand shared O-RAN pilot in Romania – RCR Wireless News

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Orange said that Samsung provided its specialized vRAN software for the trial, which supports multi-RAT – 2G, 4G and 5G and O-RAN compatible radio equipment

Orange and Vodafone have expanded a shared Open RAN (O-RAN) 4G network pilot project in some rural areas of Romania, the former said in a release.

Following the October 2023 announcement of the first 4G calls made on a shared O-RAN network in Romania, Orange and Vodafone now confirmed that they have successfully expanded their pilot project to select rural areas in Romania, including fully integrated 2G virtualized RAN (vRAN) technology.

The pair noted that this achievement represents an important step towards the cloud migration of radio access networks, which will enable network operators to consider moving their entire legacy network to fully virtualized 2G/4G/5G RANs in line with European requirements, particularly in areas where the closure of 3G networks has been done or is imminent. The carriers also noted that the virtualization of 2G networks represents a major advance and opportunity for operators, removing the obligation to maintain traditional 2G networks built on specialized hardware, as well as operating virtualized 4G/5G networks as an overlay network.

For this Samsung provided its specialized vRAN software, which supports multi-RAT/2G, 4G and 5G and O-RAN compatible radio equipment. Wind River provided the abstraction layer via Studio Cloud Platform overlaid on the hardware needed to deploy and scale the RAN software, while Dell Technologies provided Dell PowerEdge servers equipped with Intel processors and accelerator cards.

In the last six months, both operators said they have managed to accumulate local operational experience in managing an active O-RAN network that is used in real operating conditions.

Marius Maican, technology tirector at Orange Romania, said: “This first development of an operational O-RAN network in Romania represents an important step for Orange in its transition to more agile and automated networks native to the cloud. Orange will capitalize on this successful pilot to develop in the near future a center of expertise in Romania, which will support large-scale implementations of O-RAN on the entire Orange network in Europe in the coming years.”

Nicolae Vîlceanu, network director at Vodafone Romania, said:”With a focus on customer experience, we will use the O-RAN opportunity to move to cloud native networks. O-RAN supports faster innovation and the development of new features and services because it allows more vendors to develop the RAN space. This gives telecom operators a competitive edge and offers customers advanced solutions.

In February, Vodafone said it was installing new O-RAN sites in 20 cities across Romania.

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