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SONIC Labs first outdoor Open RAN testing site launches with Ofcom, Cellnex UK and Capgemini

Posted 31 Oct 2023
  • Leading global telecoms organisations expand SONIC Labs facilities to include an outdoor field testing environment for Open RAN technology.
  • Replicates real-world complexities to allow vendors to test and accelerate development of Open RAN product capabilities.
  • Specialist R&D licence from Ofcom for an outdoor testing site in the UK.

Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technologies, in partnership with Ofcom and global collaborators Cellnex UK and Capgemini, has launched its first independent 5G SA (Standalone) outdoor field testing site for Open RAN technology. The outdoor testbed has been established after Ofcom granted Digital Catapult a special research and development licence, to encourage further Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) experimentation.

Located in Hammersmith and Fulham, the outdoor facility will serve as a critical hub for the advancement and validation of Open RAN solutions in the capital, allowing vendors to rigorously test their products in a representative network deployment scenario. The new outdoor test site will be fully integrated with existing state-of-the-art indoor facilities and will provide a unique location to take product testing to the next level by simulating the typical challenges encountered in a real-world network. 

The outdoor test environment will closely mirror 5G outdoor commercial deployments, and replicate the complexities of both public and private 5G networks. It will include outdoor macro coverage and small cell deployment to create a test network with overlapping coverage, enabling radio equipment of different sizes, power and capabilities, and different network architectures to be deployed. This will allow businesses to test network capabilities such as handover, mobility, interference management and overall performance.

This exciting development is the culmination of successful collaboration between Digital Catapult and renowned global telecoms organisations, including Cellnex UK and Capgemini. Cellnex UK will be leading the provision of site infrastructure, edge hosting and transmission services, Capgemini will concentrate primarily on supplying the Open RAN solution and System Integration capabilities. It has been made possible thanks to the specialist R&D licence granted by Ofcom in a high density location with a sufficient frequency radio channel size to test the higher 5G throughputs on the outdoor field test site. 

Open RAN technology is at the forefront of innovation in the telecommunications industry, offering a more open and interoperable approach to wireless network infrastructure. SONIC Labs gives vendors in this space the opportunity to trial, test and accelerate the development of their products in a commercially neutral environment.

To find out more about how your company can join the SONIC Labs programme, visit


About our partners

Cellnex UK

Cellnex is Europe, and the UK’s largest and fastest-growing independent owner and operator of wireless telecoms infrastructure and is integral to the successful roll-out of 5G. With the wireless infrastructure foundation that we deliver across rural and urban areas, Cellnex UK connects everyone, everywhere. Our networks and solutions are built to be fit for now and the future so that the UK can prosper. We are a business built on commercial and technical innovation, ambition and sustainable growth. We offer customers the commitment to neutrality and the economic benefits of shared infrastructure.

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Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organisation of over 360,000 team members in more than 50 countries. With its strong 55-year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fuelled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group reported in 2022 global revenues of €22 billion.

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