Vodafone ready for Open RAN 5G network-in-a-box next step

Vodafone's 5G-in-a-box, now coated in corporate red paint, is on display at MWC23 in Barcelona.

Vodafone's 5G-in-a-box, now coated in corporate red paint, is on display at MWC23 in Barcelona.

  • Vodafone recently unveiled an Open RAN 5G network-in-a-box
  • It is based on a Raspberry Pi computer and an SDR chipset
  • It is just a prototype currently
  • But the interest in the product has helped Vodafone decide what to do next, says senior executive

BARCELONA – #MWC23 – The enormous interest in Vodafone’s Open RAN 5G network-in-a-box product that the operator unveiled less than two weeks ago has helped it decide on its next move, according to Yago Tenorio, Vodafone fellow and network architecture director at the operator.

Tenorio first unveiled the product, which is no bigger than a home Wi-Fi router and comprises a software-defined radio (SDR) chipset developed by Lime Microsystems and a Raspberry Pi 4 personal computer, in London ahead of MWC – for the full details, see Vodafone unveils Open RAN 5G network-in-a-box.

The product is just a prototype currently and, earlier this month, while Vodafone had a good idea what it could be used for – private wireless networks, or extending the coverage of a wide area network – it hadn’t made any decision about whether it was something the company would offer as a product. 

Now, though, Tenorio says the enormous levels of interest in the low-cost product on the Vodafone stand this week (see picture above), in meetings at MWC, and online (in terms of interaction on LinkedIn and other platforms) has helped Tenorio make his mind up. 

“If we had any doubts about productising this before, they are now gone… this is something we’re going to go ahead with,” the Vodafone executive told TelecomTV here at MWC23. 

Quite when or how is still to be decided, of course, because the level of interest has taken Vodafone somewhat by surprise. As Tenorio says, this concept had been discussed at previous shows but had received no interest. “Now this has changed totally,” beamed Tenorio.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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