Vodafone Romania taps Ericsson for standalone 5G upgrade

Vodafone Romania taps Ericsson for standalone 5G upgrade

Vodafone Romania said on Monday it has signed a six-year partnership agreement with Ericsson to upgrade its RANs to standalone 5G and develop 5G services for consumers and enterprises.

Vodafone Romania said the partnership is part of its multi-year investment plan to upgrade and develop its infrastructure to enable the country’s digital society.

As part of the deal, Vodafone Romania will deploy Ericsson’s 5G RAN products and solutions, including Massive MIMO technology to leverage mid-band 5G spectrum and Ericsson's RAN Compute radios and basebands to optimise power consumption.

“In support of a digital society, building a future-ready, secure, energy-efficient network is crucial,” said Vodafone Romania’s chief network officer Nicolae Vîlceanu in a statement.

Vîlceanu added that the partnership “is also helping us upgrade existing RAN infrastructure in order to provide fast, reliable services in the transition to standalone 5G and harness our potential as a services innovator for the digital, green society we envision.”

Vodafone Romania first launched non-standalone 5G in 2019, along with rival telcos Orange Romania and RCS&RDS (Digi), albeit with very limited coverage. In November 2022, all three telcos acquired new spectrum licences for 5G via an auction by Romania’s National Authority for Management & Regulation in Communications (ANCOM). At the time, less than 20% of phones in Romania were 5G-compatible, according to Statista. That figure is projected to reach almost 79% this year.

In July 2023, Opensignal reported that 5G availability in Romania (measured by time, not geography) was still low. Orange ranked highest with 5G signals available 13.2% of the time. Vodafone was a close second at 10.6%, while Digi was a distant third at 2.9%.

Telekom Romania – who stayed out of the 5G spectrum auction – launched 5G services in April 2023 using its existing spectrum.

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