Vodafone will launch a new network project group within the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) aimed at reducing the costs associated with building mobile networks and enabling easier market entry for smaller vendors. In addition, Vodafone’s Group Head of Networks Strategy and Architecture, Santiago Tenorio, will join the TIP Board.
TIP was founded in early 2016 as an engineering focused initiative driven by operators, suppliers, developers, integrators and startups to disaggregate the traditional networks deployment approach with the aim of fostering innovation and driving down costs to facilitate increased connectivity in rural and isolated communities.
The Open RAN (Radio Access Network) GPP (General Purpose Processor) Optimisation and SW (software) Group will be co-Chaired by Vodafone and Intel.
Vodafone is already contributing to the development of a number of other TIP project groups all focused on lowering the cost and accelerating innovation in the areas of mobile network radio and backhaul.
Vodafone and Facebook will also work together during 2018 to evaluate how OpenCellular can be used to deliver low cost rural coverage in Africa.
OpenCellular is an open source and cost-effective, software-defined mobile access platform created by Facebook aiming to improve connectivity in remote areas of the world. The platform can be deployed to support a range of communication needs, from 2G to 4G.The companies will initially undertake lab testing of OpenCellular in South Africa before identifying locations within other African countries to test the technology.
Santiago Tenorio said: “Greater engagement in TIP will help us to implement faster the open and flexible network infrastructure that enables the industry as a whole to reduce the cost of providing telecoms services to our customers. The work with Facebook on OpenCellular will build on pilots of open radio access networks that Vodafone has previously done in India as part of our commitment to extend the benefits of mobile network coverage to communities living in the remotest parts of the world.”
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