INTERVIEW: Vodafone Group CTO Scott Petty backed open RAN to provide opportunities for small companies to bring new ideas and capabilities to mobile networks, as he praised the performance of equipment and software it is currently using.

Speaking to Mobile World Live at MWC23, Petty indicated software and infrastructure being used in initial sites was slightly ahead of where Vodafone expected.

The company aims to employ open RAN in 30 per cent of its European sites by 2030, a goal Petty noted it is “well on target” to achieve.

Vodafone has 16 compatible sites operational in the UK and is “really pleased with the performance” in terms of KPIs for factors spanning technical, operations and energy efficiency.

Pushing the architecture across several markets, requires “a combination of operators and governments, and making sure that we’ve got supply chain diversity and traceability” along with a broad range of vendors.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for innovation for smaller companies to come into mobile networks and really bring new ideas, new innovations, new capabilities that may be a little harder to achieve in our traditional way of building mobile networks.”

Vodafone is also boosting its own system integration capabilities and software development to ensure it is “capable of running the entire environment,” a strategy Petty said it is “making really good strides in”.

Petty also discussed Vodafone’s energy-saving efforts, its use of data, automation and machine learning, and responses to a recent earthquake in Turkey.

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