Quickline and Mavenir claim UK’s first 5G SA O-RAN FWA solution in shared spectrum

Quickline said it has been testing its own fully cloud-native O-RAN solution for the last two years

Rural broadband provider Quickline Communications, which is working with Mavenir, claims to be the first internet service provider in the U.K. to commercially deliver a cloud-based 5G Standalone Open RAN network for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) service using shared spectrum at 3.7 GHz.

Quickline said it has been testing its own fully cloud-native Open RAN solution, alongside a number of suppliers, for the past two years. The company has now switched on its first site.

Ian Smith, Quickline’s CTO, said: “This is a U.K. first and firmly supports the government’s ambitions to provide gigabit-capable connectivity to rural communities and to diversify the telecoms supply chain.  As a result of being involved in the U.K. 5G testbed program, we have developed and commercialized a 5G Standalone, cloud-native Open RAN network which utilizes the N77 spectrum band as part of Ofcom’s Shared Access Spectrum license.”

Mavenir is Quickline’s tech vendor for this Open RAN initiative.

The Quickline network will be used for a FWA service, providing connectivity to rural communities across the northern region of England. Mavenir say it is providing an “end-to-end solution that is built with cloud-native principles and software-centric design, enabling faster time to market and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).”

“Mavenir is excited to be part of the journey in building this advanced 5G SA network based on an open system to serve remote areas of the nation. The availability of adequate broadband in rural regions is a challenge and we are pleased to see Quickline’s drive and initiative to provide high quality and reliable mobile broadband connectivity,” said Stefano Cantarelli, CMO at Mavenir.

In December of last year, the U.K. government announced a new initiative to accelerate the deployment of Open RAN in the country.

The U.K. Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) set a goal to boost O-RAN deployments so that 35% of the U.K.’s mobile network traffic is carried over O-RAN by 2030.

The plan outlined £36 million (currently $43.4 million) in funding for fifteen projects to trial the O-RAN technology across Scotland, Wales and England, and a £15 million cash injection for a prototype testing facility for next-generation telecoms tech.

Earlier this year, the U.K. government also announced a set of principles for the development and deployment of O-RAN equipment.

In a statement, the government noted that there is a need for clarity on the design characteristics of O-RAN, such as the adoption of standards and demonstration of interoperability between components. Its new O-RAN principles clear up this ambiguity to ensure it delivers on its promise of resilient and secure networks for 5G and beyond, and innovative and competitive supply chains for the long-run, the government said.

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