Vodafone announces new Open RAN chipset collaboration with Arm

Via Vodafone

Oct 10, 2023

Vodafone today announced plans to fast-track the development of new platforms for Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) using the Arm® architecture to meet growing customer demand for faster, greener mobile connectivity.

This next generation of platforms featuring high-performance Arm-based processors are optimised for use in Open RAN base stations and will be developed with enough compute power to support customer demand for advanced 5G services requiring greater capacity. Based on Open RAN principles, the processors are using industry standard servers while also delivering significant advances in energy efficiency.

Open RAN’s software-driven networks broaden the vendor supply chain and encourage innovation. In collaboration with Arm, Vodafone is committed to enabling the competitive landscape for Open RAN chipsets and the associated ecosystem by providing smaller companies with the necessary testing and verification support to become part of these next generation networks. 

Vodafone is currently working with specialist system and silicon firms SynaXG and Ampere Computing® to test and validate Arm-based Open RAN silicon, as well as Fujitsu which will provide the RAN software. Testing will begin this year in vendor laboratories to prove the compute platform and silicon integration. It will be extended to include 5G commercial Open RAN software from Fujitsu before moving to Vodafone’s test facilities at its recently expanded R&D centre in Málaga, and Newbury, in the UK, in the first quarter of 2024, with additional vendors to follow.

Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone Director of Network Architecture, said: “Vodafone’s Open RAN leadership coupled with the power efficiency of the Arm-based architecture, will widen the chip and software ecosystem.  By expanding the number of competing best-in-class suppliers, we can drive greater innovation, energy efficiency and security for the benefit of our customers.”

The results of this collaborative partnership will be made available to the entire industry, transforming networks from pure communications systems into disaggregated and open platforms for innovation. The utilisation of more energy efficient chipsets will also contribute to Vodafone’s ambition of achieving net zero by 2040.

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