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Digital Catapult reveals Capgemini in the UK as the latest company to join its SONIC Labs testbed

Posted 2 Nov 2022

Digital Catapult reveals Capgemini in the UK as the latest company to join its SONIC Labs testbed

  • Capgemini has joined five other companies on the Digital Catapult and Ofcom led SONIC Labs programme to trial the integration of Open RAN (Radio Access Network) products into working end-to-end systems.
  • The organisation will work collaboratively with the five other businesses, Digital Catapult and Ofcom to integrate and test their products in lab and indoor mobile network settings, accelerating their route to commercialisation
  • This programme is part of £15 million government investment in the SONIC Labs programme to diversify the global telecoms supply chain and deliver fast, secure and reliable connectivity

Digital Catapult has today announced that Capgemini is joining SONIC Labs – a cutting edge interoperability lab – working alongside five other companies, including: Benetel, Cable Free, Effnet, IS-Wireless and Phluido.

SONIC (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) Labs is a programme from Digital Catapult and Ofcom, funded by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), to allow new solution providers to enter the telecoms supply chain in the UK. It will drive forward the rollout of a new wireless communication technology known as Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN), which enables mobile networks to be built using a variety of different equipment suppliers.

Digital Catapult will help the six organisations to integrate their Open RAN products into working end to end systems, by enabling testing in indoor mobile network settings. The programme is creating a collaborative environment for testing how easily different Open RAN products, solutions and services from multiple vendors can integrate and exchange information.

The organisations will share best practices around the implementation of Open RAN standards, solve specific Open RAN integration problems, collaborate with new partners to create knowledge, and even have the chance to showcase their products to potential customers and end-users.

Accelerating the adoption of Open RAN technology has the potential to diversify the UK 5G supply chain so it is fit for the future – making it more secure and accessible for new market entrants.

Joe Butler, Chief Technology Officer at Digital Catapult, said:

 “We’re pleased to provide our leading technical expertise and lab facilities to help these six companies test their Open RAN products and solutions and support them on their route to market.

“Through our SONIC Labs programme, we’re helping to foster innovation across the telecoms sector – diversifying the 5G supply chain market in the UK and delivering fast, secure and reliable connectivity.”

Alongside access to Digital Catapult’s advanced facilities and technical support, participants will also have the opportunity to take part in thought-leadership events throughout and beyond the six month technical programme, and will benefit from networking opportunities and targeted innovation activities to accelerate their route to commercialisation.

 Sachin Jogia, Ofcom’s Chief Technology Officer, said:

“SONIC Labs gives these six companies a great opportunity to test their technology in a real-world environment. So, we’re really looking forward to working with them – and Digital Catapult – to see how this innovative technology operates, what lessons can be learned and how it could help shape the telecoms supply chains of the future.”

Notes to Editors

More about the SONIC Labs project:

The participating companies in this phase of the project will be given access to the SONIC Labs facility to test their products and solutions including software and firmware installations and configurations of the Open RAN components. The Open RAN vendors will also work with the Digital Catapult 5G technology team to conduct integration, interoperability and end to end (E2E) performance benchmarking experiments. The experimental process aims to capture key results and learnings, along with trialling optimisation and performance improvement measures.

Participating companies include:


Benetel is based in Dublin, Ireland, and is a company dedicated to delivering 5G ORAN Radio Units (O-RUs) to Communication Service Providers and Private Networks. They will participate by providing a Radio Unit (RU) in this cohort.


The other Radio Unit in the SONIC Labs will be provided by CableFree: Wireless Excellence, a UK-based equipment vendor with a deployed base of customers in more than 80 countries. The company designs and manufactures high-performance wireless connectivity products including 5G Macro and Small Cell Radios.


Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. It will bring its global innovation expertise to the programme, leveraging its system integration capability and Open RAN CU (Centralised Unit), DU (Distributed Unit) and RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller) solutions. This technology is essential in the development of 5G end-to-end solutions.


Effnet is a company based in Sweden and is dedicated to delivering 5G RAN software components to Communications Service Providers as well as for a wide variety of applications including private networks and non-terrestrial networks. They will be providing a Distributed Unit (DU) and a Centralised Unit (CU) to the programme and bring more than 20 years of experience in the area of research and development of efficient networking.


IS-Wireless is a company based in Poland, specialising in the development of software-defined 4G and 5G mobile networks. The company has been recognized as one of a few European RAN vendors by leading telco operators in their November 2021 report “Building an Open RAN Ecosystem for Europe.” IS-Wireless is contributing to the programme by bringing a Centralised Unit (CU) and will bring the L2 stack, part of the Distributed Unit (DU).


Phluido is a pioneer company in the fields of fronthaul technology and cellular network virtualisation from San Diego, California. The company will be in charge of providing the physical layer for a Distributed Unit (DU) to the SONIC Labs programme.