During a trial of OpenRAN technology in the Netherlands, Vodafone and NEC managed to make a voice call, using the disruptive new radio technology.

NEC is a major player in OpenRAN, which seeks to disaggregate the various components in a cellular base station, such that operators can pick-and-choose their vendor for each bit. Its most conspicuous work in this area is in partnership with Japanese mobile market newbie Rakuten, which has fully embraced the technology.

“We are proud to embark on this journey together with Vodafone that will transform mobile network economics, while deploying technology with greater flexibility, greater efficiencies, and more agility,” said Yogarajah Gopikrishna, GM at NEC Europe. “By integrating best of breed solutions, NEC, as an experienced Open RAN System Integrator, is committed to bring transformative change to the telecommunications space leveraging our long history and experience in mobile network solutions.”

“We are delighted to work together with NEC towards the first live Open RAN site,” said Ruud Koeyvoets, Vodafone Mobile Networks’ Director. “The introduction of the technology enables us to introduce new suppliers, such as Altiostar, giving us greater flexibility when rolling out our mobile network. We’re proud to be pioneering the development of Open RAN and will be monitoring the performance of this pilot.”

It’s interesting that Altiostar was the only OpenRAN vendor to get a special mention. Altiostar is part-owned by Rakuten and must therefore be near the front of the queue for its OpenRAN vendors. Rakuten has made a big deal of making its platform technology available to other operators, which means we will probably be seeing a lot more of NEC and Altiostar as OpenRAN gathers momentum.

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