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Vodafone is testing the UK’s new network technology in defiance of the Big Three suppliers

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Vodafone is testing innovative open access radio technology in Britain – a first for Europe – in a move that could break the grip Huawei [HWT.UL], Ericsson <ERICb.ST> and Nokia <NOKIA.HE> hold on the telco equipment market.

OpenRAN, which has been developed by Vodafone <VOD.L> and Intel <INTC.O>, standardises the design of hardware and software in the infrastructure, masts and antennae that make up the radio access network that carries mobile calls and data.

Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile operator, has trialled the technology in laboratories in South Africa and deployed it in Turkey to deliver 2G and 4G services to customers in both urban and rural areas. It could enable customers to make calls and access data at lower cost.

Chief Executive Nick Read said it was ready to fast track OpenRAN into Europe as it sought to expand its list of vendors.

“OpenRAN improves the network economics enabling us to reach more people in rural communities and that supports our goal to build digital societies in which no one is left behind,” he said on Sunday.

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