Open RAN | Vilicom, Virgin Media O2 launch commercial sites


Vilicom has rolled out one of the first commercial sites with Virgin Media O2, built upon its Open RAN technology platform in adherence with the specifications laid out by the Joint Operators Technical Specifications for Neutral Host InBuilding (JOTS NHIB) systems.

After several months of dedicated testing of functionality,
interoperability and cyber-security, Vilicom delivered full availability of its cloud-based network platform to enhance indoor coverage to Virgin Media O2’s subscribers.

Vilicom’s infrastructure has been developed in partnership with Mavenir using its Cloud RAN technology, and unlike legacy solutions, is a fully digital business model.

The Connectivity-as-a Service (CaaS) network platform streamlines site deployment, implements a full stack of network management and operations, offers fully integrated security features and aims to reduce the cost and space requirements of inbuilding 4G, and later 5G, public and private mobile connectivity for the UK’s industries and businesses.

As mobile connectivity helps power the country’s recovery, businesses of all sizes, across the UK, require reliable 4G connectivity indoors. The integration of Vilicom’s virtualised O-RAN platform with all UK based Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will meet this demand, and businesses, industries and subscribers within the coverage area of Vilicom’s CaaS network will benefit from an enhanced network service including improved voice quality and data speeds.

This model also benefits MNOs by offloading traffic from macro cells to the inbuilding networks, making sure that traffic generated by indoor subscribers is served indoors, thus saving capacity of
macro cells and reducing the need for expansion investment.

Sean Keating, CEO of Vilicom commented: “Delivering this milestone achievement is testament to Vilicom’ s commitment to implementing the latest approved technology by the Mobile Network
Operators to solve indoor mobile connectivity. We are proud to deliver this service live in conjunction with Virgin Media O2 and this virtual platform signals a new way forward for those in
need of mobile connectivity in commercial real estate, built-to-rent and industry throughout the UK. This service will translate to significant cost savings and help reduce carbon footprint across the built environment as much of the power intensive infrastructure is hosted off premise in our Data Centre.”

Omar Calvo, Director of Radio Engineering at Virgin Media O2, said: “Virgin Media O2’s neutral host solutions will deliver great in-building 4G coverage and capacity, providing a greener and more
efficient network. We’re constantly looking to innovate our range of network products, and our partnership with Vilicom has allowed us to develop this NHIB technique to help transform the
capabilities of in-building cellular coverage.”