February 7, 2024, Glasgow City Scotland – AWTG attended the launch of Three UK’s Open RAN trial in Glasgow, Scotland. Together with Mavenir, Boldyn and other industry media partners, AWTG’s Director of Public Network, Mike Carter, visited one of 51 small cells strategically placed throughout the city. These cells, attached to CCTV columns and lampposts, will provide improved connectivity when the trial goes live in the Spring.
Three’s initiative is part of the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology’s (DSIT) Open Networks Initiative – SCONDA, which aims to future-proof UK mobile networks. With a research and development grant of £88 million, the Open Network Initiative is designed to address the technical and commercial hurdles in high-density demand regions. SCONDA, being an integral part of this initiative, has received funding of £9,123,182.58.
This project is an innovative trial aimed at enhancing urban connectivity by deploying small cells on existing street furniture instead of constructing new macro sites. Whilst Small Cells are not a new concept, deploying them on Open RAN technology in such a high-density, high-demand area and making them inter-operable with a complex existing multi-vendor traditional network is the unique challenge of this project.
The SCONDA partnership that is being led by AWTG who will act as the role of Systems Integrator, ensuring that Innovations and Benefits of the project are realised, and Lessons are learned for the industry.
Mike Carter, AWTG’s Director of Public Network, who is representing AWTG at the event shares:
“We knew the challenges and complexity of this project before we started. But just to be here in Glasgow, stand on the busy streets right where the technology will be deployed, and listen to the potential impact this could have in the region really brings to life why this is so important.”
Three UK’s Chief Network Officer, Iain Milligan, shares:
“This trial is the first of its kind to test the power of Open RAN in a highly populated, urban environment. I am excited to test the capabilities of Open RAN and small cells, and gain valuable learnings, which we can take forward into future projects.”
Watch the highlight reel below:
UPDATE: As of today, the small cells that had been attached have now been removed, and come spring, the trial with attaching cells to street furniture will resume.