Vodafone Spain said it has made the first commercial 5G data call in the country using Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) technology at MWC22 in Barcelona. The successful trial was conducted using an Open RAN network supplied by Lime Microsystems connected to the commercial network of Vodafone Spain, meaning it can be replicated by any terminal equipped with one of the operator’s commercial SIMs.

Attendees were able to witness a video call between Santiago Tenorio, network director of the Vodafone Group, and Julia Velasco, network director of Vodafone Spain. They can also make calls using Open RAN from their own smartphones at Vodafone’s stand.

In a statement, the company said the flexibility of Open RAN technology is particularly important for deployments in rural environments, which can be carried out more quickly, at a lower cost and with greater energy efficiency. 

Vodafone recently announced that it’s partnering with Intel and other silicon manufacturers to design its own chip architecture for Open RAN systems at its new global digital innovation and R&D centre in Malaga. The space is now operational with 50 people dedicated to Open RAN plus around 650 software engineers, architects and technicians.

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