Vodafone and Orange have expanded their RAN sharing pilot in certain rural areas of Romania. The pilot includes fully integrated 2G virtualized RAN (vRAN) technology over a shared operational network. Back in October 2023, Vodafone and Orange announced the first 4G calls made on a shared Open RAN network in Romania. 

The two operators consider moving their entire traditional network to fully virtualized RAN spanning 2G/4G/5G networks, in line with European requirements, especially in areas where the shutdown of 3G networks is completed or imminent. 

Vodafone and Orange have achieved this milestone through partnerships with Open RAN providers. Samsung provided its specialized vRAN software supporting multi-RAT – 2G, 4G and 5G, and its O-RAN compliant radios. Wind River provided the abstraction layer through Studio Cloud Platform on top of the hardware to deploy and scale the RAN software, while Dell Technologies provided Dell PowerEdge servers equipped with Intel processors and acceleration cards. 

Over the past six months, both operators report they have gained local operational experience in managing an active Open RAN network used in real operating conditions. This observation period has allowed for a comprehensive comparison between Open RAN and traditional RAN networks and has demonstrated similar performance between the two options.

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