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Digital Catapult welcomes new vendors to test Open RAN deployability in real-world outdoor setting

Posted 25 Apr 2024

Today, Digital Catapult has announced that SONIC (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) Labs, an initiative aiming to advance Open RAN technology, will welcome a new group of international companies to its programme. These companies will have the opportunity to use SONIC Labs’ outdoor testing site in West London to explore the potential value of Open RAN in a real-world environment.

Delivered by Digital Catapult – the UK authority on advanced digital technology, the SONIC Labs programme is supported by Ofcom and funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), to determine the practical viability and performance of Open RAN solutions. The next phase of the programme will assess how well Open RAN works in practical outdoor settings, mimicking the conditions faced by mobile network operators, to provide valuable insights that will shape the future of telecommunications infrastructure worldwide.

Open RAN technology revolutionises wireless networks by enabling interoperability between different vendor products, fostering competition and innovation. This allows for greater flexibility and potentially lower costs in network deployment and operation, demonstrating the strategic global value of the SONIC Labs programme. The programme has established a commercially-neutral, collaborative, environment for testing the interoperability and integration of Open RAN products and services to accelerate market suitability. 

Testing Open RAN outdoors poses numerous challenges including weather conditions, background noise, coverage footprint, signal strength, and regulatory hurdles such as council restrictions and spectrum licences. Overcoming these complexities is essential for validating the efficacy and viability of Open RAN solutions in real-world settings, and the SONIC Labs programme aims to tackle these challenges, driving innovation and accelerating Open RAN deployment.

The new cohort members will be the first to use SONIC Labs’ outdoor facility and include Accelleran, G REIGNS, LIONS, VVDN, and Pegatron. In addition to the five companies using the outdoor facility, ALPHA Networks will primarily use the SONIC Labs indoor facility located in Digital Catapult’s London headquarters. Over the course of the programme, all participants will also measure key performance indicators to improve Open RAN’s commercial viability, positioning the UK at the forefront of Open RAN innovation. 

Facilitating outdoor testing of Open RAN is important for the technology’s development, as new test-cases for Open RAN are explored and new applications of the technology are discovered, including streaming video content using Open RAN infrastructure. Building on the success of the SONIC Labs programme to date, the new cohort members will showcase the success of testing and deploying Open RAN solutions outdoors, as well as challenges and lessons learned, enabling Digital Catapult to pave the way for future advancements in global telecommunications infrastructure. 

To find out more about the SONIC Labs programme, visit our programme page

About our partners


LIONS Technology specialises in 5G O-RAN outdoor RU products and integration services, adhering to O-RAN architecture and standard interfaces. LIONS’ mission is to assist customers, including system integrators or CUDU suppliers, in building reliable and high-performance 5G O-RAN networks. Headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan, LIONS operates technical service branches in Los Angeles, USA, and Fukuoka, Japan. LIONS contributes its innovative 8T8R outdoor RU and integration services to the SONIC Labs programme.

Alpha Networks Inc.

Alpha Networks Inc. was founded in 2003 and is one of the largest professional network equipment manufacturers in Taiwan. With years of experience in product development and design, Alpha Networks has been a major provider of network product design, R&D, and manufacturing for renowned global brands. The Company’s product lines cover Local and Metropolitan Area Networks (LAN/MAN), wireless broadband networks, digital multimedia, and enterprise mobile solutions. Alpha Networks Inc. is headquartered in Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan, and the Company owns 3 major R&D centres worldwide, as well as subsidiaries in North America, Japan, China, and Vietnam. For more information on Alpha Networks Inc., please refer to the company’s website (

Pegatron 5G

Pegatron 5G has a comprehensive suite of end-to-end and interoperable 5G products. These offerings span various domains, including a family of 5G Radios, Servers, and Networking products. Pegatron’s 5G portfolio caters to global enterprises, emphasising high throughput, low latency, and robust security. Our goal is not only to realise new communication methods but also to unlock endless possibilities within the industry. For more information visit:


G REIGNS is a subsidiary of HTC Corporation. G REIGNS focuses on private 5G network solutions using 5G O-RAN SA architecture, and is devoted to providing; optimised vRAN software solutions, all-in-one standard portable turnkey solutions, and project-based scalable enterprise solutions, across the world. 

G REIGNS will bring its Centralised Unit (CU) and Distributed Unit (DU) products, as well as the role as System Integrator to the SONIC Labs programme.

For more information visit


Headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, Accelleran is an Open RAN pioneer, with software solutions enabling a diverse multi-vendor RAN ecosystem that creates greater flexibility, efficiency and reduced costs for operators and private networks. Accelleran brings the dRAX™ platform, which includes the Cloud Native CU, RAN intelligent Controller (RIC) developer platform and systems integration capabilities to the SONIC Labs programme.


Founded in 2007, VVDN is a technology innovation company focussing primarily on Software Services, Product Engineering and Manufacturing Services.  VVDN’s India HQ is located at Gurgaon, India, and its North America HQ is located in Fremont, CA, USA. VVDN has a presence across the world with offices in US, Canada, Europe, Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan. With 11 advanced R&D Centres, VVDN is fully equipped to design, develop & test the complete hardware, mechanical & software required for a complete product or solution. VVDN’s 7 Manufacturing facilities are located at Manesar, Gurgaon, and Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, India, which includes in-house best-in-class SMT Factory, Mold & Tooling Factory, Injection Molding, Die Casting, Powder Coating, Sheet Metal, Product Assembly Factory, and Product Certifications labs. Company offers a comprehensive suite of services from Hardware to Mechanical, Embedded Software to Cloud & Apps, Testing & Validation to Automation as well as Mass Manufacturing to its global customers.