Vodafone Ireland Taps Parallel Wireless to Roll Out Open RAN

Parallel Wireless Logo

Parallel Wireless, Inc., the U.S.-based Open RAN company delivering the world’s only 2G 3G 4G 5G O-RAN solution for rural and urban connectivity, has announced that Vodafone Ireland, the best and the fastest network provider in the country, is the first to roll out Open RAN sites across the North West region using Parallel Wireless O-RAN software to deliver new 4G service to 30 locations in a faster and more cost-efficient way.

Amid growing demand for mobile broadband services, mobile operators face CAPEX and OPEX deployment challenges with bringing new coverage or capacity to their end users.

Open RAN is an industry approach to define and build 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G RAN solutions based on a general-purpose, vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology with open interfaces between the components.

Open RAN allows mobile operators to mix and match radio, software and server suppliers hence delivering supplier diversity, flexibility in deployments and TCO reduction. Open RAN CAPEX spent is predicted to reach over $40 billion and to account for over 50% total RAN spend by 2026.

Vodafone has been a leading proponent of Open RAN driving industry innovation to reduce deployment cost and avoid vendor lock-in, recently requiring their vendors to support O-RAN split option 7.2 to ensure interoperability. Vodafone has had TIP Open RAN trials ongoing in DRC and Turkey with Parallel Wireless. Parallel Wireless’ ALL G cloud-native O- RAN solution has shown very strong performance, quality of service and cost benefits for the operator.

In Ireland, the sites are being built on an O-RAN architecture with a Remote Radio Unit (RRU) provided by Comba Telecom, Parallel Wireless Distributed Unit (DU) and Central Unit (CU) software running on a vBBU (virtual Baseband Unit) provided by Supermicro and deployed on site. The DU/CU software connects to Parallel Wireless’ Near Real-time Intelligent Controller (RIC), located in a Dublin data center on HP hardware using VMWare ESXi v6.7 virtualized environment.

The announcement today follows a commitment from Vodafone Group to use Open RAN technology for at least 2,600 sites in the UK. It is the largest commitment to Open RAN made by a European carrier to embrace technology companies from outside the established supply chain. Open RAN can help build and expand wireless networks across the regions that Vodafone serves, and provide next-generation digital services to end users, communities and businesses.

Didier Clavero, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Ireland, said, “Delivering Open RAN sites is a pivotal moment in the provision of mobile coverage to rural communities in Ireland, as this pioneering new approach reduces cost, increases flexibility and enables new suppliers to support the expansion of Vodafone’s mobile network in hard to reach areas. Focusing on the North West region to begin with, we will continue to identify communities across Ireland where we can more economically introduce access to voice and high-speed data using the new technology.”

Keith Johnson, Chief Operation Officer, Parallel Wireless, said, “The telecom industry is demanding networks that are open and flexible in order to reduce deployment and maintenance cost. We are pleased to be working with Vodafone Ireland to enable an open ecosystem of disaggregated RAN solutions based on open interfaces and O-RAN standards, helping to expand coverage quickly and cost effectively and make a positive impact in the lives of end users with Open RAN.”