BT, Nokia trial Open RAN in the city of Hull

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BT has underlined its ongoing commitment to the development and deployment of Open RAN technology by announcing details of a trial with Nokia taking place in the city of Hull, UK. BT will install Nokia’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) for Open RAN, across a number of sites, to optimise network performance for customers of its mobile network, EE. 

BT is committed to sustained investment in all technologies that deliver the best possible customer experience, including using open architecture wherever network performance can be enhanced. BT is therefore developing Open RAN, with its vendor partners, to ensure it becomes a viable, mature, scale option for network optimisation as soon as possible.

In addition to this trial, BT will also open a dedicated Open RAN Innovation Centre at its Adastral Park facility later this year. This will provide opportunities for large and small vendors to develop and prove their equipment and provide a platform for open architecture progress across all network elements.

Neil McRae, Chief Architect, BT, commented, “Our Open RAN trial with Nokia is one of many investments we are making to boost the performance of our market-leading 4G and 5G EE network and deliver an even better service to our customers. Our high performance, high efficiency radio access equipment, provided by the major global vendors, has enabled us to roll-out 4G and now 5G at scale, with the confidence that our customers will get the best network experience possible.”

BT’s focus is always on providing the highest possible quality of experience. So far, it has launched 5G across hundreds of towns and cities via its EE mobile network, giving its customers faster speeds, a more reliable service and near instant connections to content. EE’s 5G network will cover more than half the UK population by 2023 (four years ahead of current Government ambitions), will deliver 5G connectivity solutions anywhere in the UK by 2028 and complete the country’s only fully converged network by the mid-2020s.

Mark Atkinson, SVP, Radio Access Networks PLM, Nokia, commented, “We are delighted to deepen our partnership with BT with this trial. Nokia is investing in Open RAN capabilities to enable a robust telecom ecosystem with strong network performance and security. An open and programmable RAN enables many new advanced capabilities to be introduced that can automatically optimize the 5G network. I look forward to seeing how this project develops.”


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