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Vodafone becomes first UK operator to switch on live OpenRAN site

Paul Lipscombe
August 6, 2020

Vodafone UK CTO Scott Petty calls this an important milestone for the operator

Vodafone has become the first operator in the UK to switch on a live OpenRAN 4G site.

This move is expected to enable the introduction of more suppliers for mobile networks in the UK, plus boost the rollout of remote rural mobile coverage.

Vodafone has switched the first site on around the Royal Welsh Showground, in Powys, Wales.

These sites remove the need of being ‘reliant on heavily-customised hardware from only a few vendors’ according to the operator.

Instead the capabilities of the mobile site are hosted as software in the cloud, with readily-available and cheaper hardware at the site.

Vodafone claim that this approach is more flexible, cheaper and approachable for new suppliers to support the rollout of mobile networks across the country.


Vodafone UK CTO Scott Petty has hailed this as a significant milestone for the operator.

“This is our first live OpenRAN site in the UK, and that’s an important milestone.

“This new approach has the ability to make us less dependent on current larger technology suppliers, and find ways to reduce the cost of rolling out mobile coverage. OpenRAN can also help close the digital divide between urban and rural Britain.”

Vodafone has been active in recent times as the operator has moved to extend 4G and 5G services to rural areas.

This includes launching the UK’s first Shared Rural Network site in Wales, plus connecting people in rural Scotland as part of the Scottish 4G Infill Programme.

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