VMware projects chosen by UK government for telecom ecosystem

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Three VMware projects have been selected by the UK government as part of its open networks ecosystem competition.

ARIANE, BEACH and 5GMoDe, selected by the department for Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT), will enhance the UK telecom ecosystem by forging a path for “greater diversity in open network communications solutions”, according to VMware.

The UK government launched its Open Networks R&D Fund in 2022, as it looked to build a more diversified telecoms infrastructure to strengthen UK networks’ future resilience and security.

The fund has three main research and development objectives, including accelerating the development of open-interface products and solutions to ensure interoperability and sustainability.

The fund also aims to incentivize the development of new technologies, specifically Open RAN, and make it easier for commercial network operators.

Lastly, the fund will be used to develop the UK as an internationally recognized telecoms ecosystem, with innovation and research into open network technology.

The competition has split £80m of funding across 19 projects to support the development of the Open Networks Ecosystem (ONE). As a result, projects will be able to develop a variety of technological solutions to improve connectivity in locations with large demand on mobile services, such as cities, airports and stadiums.

Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider and Edge at VMware, said: “VMware is thrilled to collaborate with its industry consortium partners on three 5G and Open RAN related DSIT projects – ARIANE, BEACH and 5GMoDe – all of which address energy efficiency (high demand density) use cases and support intelligent network programmability using the RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller), along with RAN software automation.

“These are prototypical use cases for the Software-Defined Edge (SDE) and in the coming years, the projects will lay the foundation for more open and desegregated network communications solutions, enabling the UK telecoms ecosystem to innovate and thrive.”

Project 5GMoDe will offer a “Cell on Wheels” solution to be deployed at certain events or high-demand areas like festivals and sporting events. Meanwhile, Project BEACH will create a scalable shared network solution for HDD energy-efficient 4G and 5G Small Cell deployment to deliver low-impact and easily deployable RAN on council assets.

Project ARIANE will utilize a vendor-neutral environment to create a lower barrier to purchase and enable the deployment of multi-vendor Open RAN systems.

The ONE Competition projects are slated to begin in October and are estimated to run until March 2025.