Network providers are often forced to make use of network technology from Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia or a combination of all three.

Naturally networks could use other firms but the aforementioned three are the biggest in the sector and arguably among the best.

But Vodafone in the UK is testing a new network technology that could break the grip equipment manufacturers have on the market.

The solution is called OpenRAN and it is being developed by Vodafone and Intel.

The idea behind OpenRAN is to develop a fully programmable radio access network solution that takes advantage of general purpose processing platforms and software. The goal is to ultimately build out networks in rural areas at a lower cost.

“OpenRAN improves the network economics enabling us to reach more people in rural communities and that supports our goal to build digital societies in which no one is left behind,” Vodafone chief executive, Nick Read told Reuters.

The technology has already been tested in labs here in South Africa but more importantly it has been field tested in Turkey.

In Turkey, OpenRAN has been used to deliver 2G and 4G connectivity in both urban and rural areas.

Could OpenRAN help network providers build out networks more efficiently and cheaply? Perhaps, we’ll have to see how the testing goes in the UK. Perhaps once that testing is done Vodacom here in SA can use the tech to connect more South Africans, particularly those in rural areas.

[Image – CC BY 2.0 itravel NZ]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.