Vodafone Idea and Mavenir are in advanced commercial phase of open RAN deployment before going for large scale rollout.

Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor

February 23, 2024

2 Min Read
Red and blue neon 'open' sign.
(Source: Super Straho/Unsplash)

Open radio access network (RAN) vendor Mavenir has announced that it is in the midst of the commercial phase of open RAN deployment for Vodafone Idea, India’s third-largest service provider. The deployment started in September 2023 and is carrying live commercial traffic before the pre-decided large-scale rollout.

"The pilot marks the first O-RAN-compliant deployment into Vodafone Idea’s network, utilising the N78 and N258 millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum bands and B1 supporting NSA architecture," says the press release. 

As part of this deployment, Mavenir will provide an end-to-end cloud-native open RAN system, including a Distributed Unit (DU) solution based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, OpenBeam Radios, Centralized Unit (CU), Remote Radio Unit (RRU) and RAN software capabilities. It will also use Red Hat OpenShift, a hybrid cloud application platform using Kubernetes.

"This Open RAN deployment, delivered through Mavenir’s innovation and joint technological, strategic initiatives, is in sync with our technology transformation roadmap and the enriched vendor ecosystem. Working in partnership with solution of Mavenir, we see a major role ahead for open RAN technology in delivering the network enhanced capabilities, better TCO and open interfaces that will push the industry forward in new ways," said Jagbir Singh, Vodafone Idea's CTO, in a press release.

According to media reports, Airtel has also conducted an open RAN trial and plans to deploy the technology at 2,500 sites before scaling it. However, Indian telcos have largely ignored open RAN in the initial 5G deployments. The top two telcos, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, launched 5G in October 2022. Together, they have more than 100 million 5G subscribers and have almost covered the entire country. Open RAN is said to bring down deployment costs, besides other benefits.

Vodafone Idea is under massive debt and would want to go for the most cost-optimal option to deploy 5G. It is yet to start offering 5G services, and the company’s CEO recently mentioned that it will launch 5G later this year. Vodafone Group, which owns a 32.3% stake in the company, is also deploying open RAN in several countries, including Romania. 

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About the Author(s)

Gagandeep Kaur

Contributing Editor

With more than a decade of experience, Gagandeep Kaur Sodhi has worked for the most prominent Indian communications industry publications including Dataquest, Business Standard, The Times of India, and Voice&Data, as well as for Light Reading. Delhi-based Kaur, who has knowledge of and covers a broad range of telecom industry developments, regularly interacts with the senior management of companies in India's telecom sector and has been directly responsible for delegate and speaker acquisition for prominent events such as Mobile Broadband Summit, 4G World India, and Next Generation Packet Transport Network.

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