Are you looking for information about offers, devices or your account?

Please choose your local Vodafone website

Vodafone and NTT DOCOMO sign MoU to cooperate to drive greater system integration and service efficiency in Open RAN

25 Oct 2022Technology news
5 minute read

Vodafone and NTT DOCOMO, INC. (DOCOMO) agreed to cooperate to bring the benefits of open radio access networks (Open RAN) to a wider operator and vendor community.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed today, Vodafone and DOCOMO agreed to cooperate towards harmonizing mobile operator system integration and test processes including testing criteria and experiences to create common test scripts, a series of software instructions needed to conduct a test. This uniform approach to testing will mean that vendors can avoid repetition when dealing with multiple operators, saving them time, capital outlays, and resources, also making sure the industry delivers, no matter the region, secure by design, high quality products as defined by the industry bodies - 3GPP and the ORAN Alliance. The cooperation will be performed by exchanging the respective expertise and technologies between the parties.

The cooperation will drive greater interoperability between different vendor systems worldwide giving customers a seamless service across 4G and 5G Open RAN networks no matter where they live, work, or travel. Smaller suppliers and startups will particularly benefit by avoiding costly duplicate testing with multiple operators, strengthening diversity in the global supply chain. 

The two companies also aim to maximize the benefits of the Service Management Orchestrator – a component of the Open RAN Network Operation Support System – and the RAN Intelligent Controller platform (SMO/RIC). They intend to identify the key features of SMO/RIC, determine their likely evolution and define the underlying software architecture.

In addition, Vodafone and DOCOMO plan to cooperate to lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for operators by enhancing the efficiency of RAN technologies, integration processes, artificial intelligence/machine learning and automation techniques, with a view to publishing a whitepaper.

Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer of Vodafone, said: “The collective R&D power of Vodafone and DOCOMO will lower the entry barrier for many more companies across Europe and Asia wishing to build Open RAN networks. Rather than fragmenting the industry, Open RAN is bringing us together, across continents, to drive diversification of network equipment vendors and ensure greater systems integration.”

Naoki Tani, Chief Technology Officer of NTT DOCOMO, said: “We look forward to combining Vodafone's R&D and thought leadership in Open RAN system integration and DOCOMO's experience in deploying a multi-vendor 5G Open RAN commercial service in Japan. Our collaboration will help to accelerate the broad commercial adoption of Open RAN and realize a vibrant RAN ecosystem for 5G and beyond.”

The two companies have also agreed to look to remotely connect their lab capabilities, which will complement their existing Open RAN R&D centers in the UK (Vodafone, Newbury) and Japan (DOCOMO’s Shared Open Lab, Yokosuka). These labs are based on a distributed testing operating model that is distinct from the current single vendor-centric approach in use today.

Instead of each vendor setting up their own centralized lab for all parts of a mobile base station, Open RAN requires a coordinated network of labs – each being responsible for part of the radio infrastructure, such as the radio unit or the software. Vodafone’s calculations published earlier this year show that cost savings of up to 40% can be achieved for the industry when moving to a distributed system integration lab network.

Going forward, Vodafone and DOCOMO will explore other areas of potential collaboration to further build foundations for a thriving ecosystem and an improved customer experience.

For further information:  

Vodafone Group, Media Relations

Investor Relations 

About Vodafone

Unique in its scale as the largest pan-European and African technology communications company, Vodafone transforms the way we live and work through its innovation, technology, connectivity, platforms, products and services. 

Vodafone operates mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries, and partners with mobile networks in 47 more.  As of 30 June 2022, we had over 300m mobile customers, more than 28m fixed broadband customers and 22m TV customers. Vodafone is a world leader in the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting around 160m devices and platforms.

We have revolutionised fintech in Africa through M-Pesa, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2022. It is the region’s largest fintech platform, providing access to financial services for more than 50m people in a secure, affordable and convenient way.

Our purpose is to connect for a better future by using technology to improve lives, digitalise critical sectors and enable inclusive and sustainable digital societies.

We are committed to reducing our environmental impact to reach net zero emissions across our full value chain by 2040, while helping our customers reduce their own carbon emissions by 350m tonnes by 2030.  We are driving action to reduce device waste and achieve our target to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste.

We believe in the power of connectivity and digital services to improve society and economies, partnering with governments to digitalise healthcare, education and agriculture and create cleaner, safer cities.  Our products and services support the digitalisation of businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 

Our inclusion for all strategy seeks to ensure no-one is left behind through access to connectivity, digital skills and creating relevant products and services such as access to education, healthcare and finance.  We are also committed to developing a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the customers and societies we serve.

For more information, please visit, follow us on Twitter at @VodafoneGroup or connect with us on LinkedIn at


NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s leading mobile operator with over 84 million subscriptions, is one of the world’s foremost contributors to 3G, 4G, and 5G mobile network technologies. Beyond core communications services, DOCOMO is challenging new frontiers in collaboration with a growing number of entities (“+d” partners), creating exciting and convenient value-added services that change the way people live and work. Under a medium-term plan toward 2020 and beyond, DOCOMO is pioneering a leading-edge 5G network to facilitate innovative services that will amaze and inspire customers beyond their expectations.

  • Networks
  • OpenRAN
  • Press Release
  • Resilience
  • Responsible supply chain
  • SDG 11
  • Technology
  • SDGs
  • SDG 9

More stories

No results found