Usually your wireless carrier is beholden to use proprietary cellular network technology from companies like Ericsson or Nokia, but Vodafone may soon start enabling a more universal technology that could benefit your budget.
Vodafone said it has started the first European tests (specifically, the UK) for OpenRAN, an Intel co-developed open access radio system that brings together hardware and software in cellular infrastructure. You may not jump at the news because phones are everywhere but when you think of paying a very low cost for your call and data service then you will have reasons to celebrate.
Vodafone is currently running OpenRAN in Turkey, where it provides 2G and 4G service. This shows a significant expansion, and the company’s pace is set to run even faster. Vodafone said it will roll out the open radio technology in 120 rural UK areas on October 7th. It’s also taking the service to more countries with first time trials in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.
We aren’t sure whether carriers will use this to lower prices or not. But we know it’s completely possible that networks will either roll any savings into upgrades or simply pad their profit margins. At least that will raise the possibility of lower prices, and might help coverage for carriers with narrow budgets.
You may also expect OpenRAN to assist with some security issues. This include whether there’s any legitimacy to claims that companies like Huawei could use equipment to surveil communications or not, carriers would have a more easier time sidestepping the issues they have alternatives to look at.