Vodafone Group added India-based Saankhya Labs to its growing list of open RAN partners, advancing moves to create a market of specialised silicon for the sector.

The so-called accelerator chips are critical for applying Massive MIMO in an effort to support thousands of users from a single mast, Vodafone stated.

Alberto Ripepi, Vodafone’s current deputy CTO and future network chief stated the operator’s goal to run 30 per cent of its European network on open RAN infrastructure by 2030 means it is keen to “open the door to more smaller companies” in a bid to fuel innovation and boost the supply chain.

“Bringing in new vendors will ensure open RAN sticks to its principles,” Ripepi noted.

Saankhya Labs is collaborating with Vodafone to help define a chip architecture to connect open software to disaggregated hardware, an approach the operator stated would lower the TCO compared with legacy implementations.

Vodafone stated the development of fully-programmable open hardware and the standardisation of the Layer 1 interface were key for driving greater interoperability within the open RAN ecosystem.

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