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SONIC (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) Labs is a commercially-neutral, collaborative, environment for testing interoperability and integration of open, disaggregated and software-centric network solutions and multi-vendor architectures.

It has been designed to offer network vendors, operators and integration companies:

  • A place for collaborative, peer-assisted, integration and interoperability testing of products and solutions at a pre-commercial development stage, addressing the challenges of multi-vendor end-to-end solutions
  • A technical platform. A commercially-neutral, multi-tenancy open network testbed providing real world indoor and outdoor scale environments, including test and measurement capabilities
  • A programme focused on helping vendors accelerate technology development and early stage integration work, with targeted innovation and acceleration activities


SONIC Labs aims to help accelerate technology development through ecosystem engagement, vendor support (both technical and business development), integration work, interoperability testing, publicity, sharing lessons learned and successful activities, targeted innovation, and acceleration programmes to bring in new innovators, delivering on the 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy, to create a more open, competitive and diverse telecommunication supply market in the UK.

Enable and encourage innovative suppliers of 5G Open-RAN products to participate in the UK telecoms ecosystem

Provide UK mobile network operators with a pipeline of innovative and competitive suppliers and products

Facilitate interoperability testing and collaboration across supplier products that may not otherwise have been tested for interoperability

Examine the reality of Open RAN and successive relevant technologies to facilitate open interoperability in mobile networks

Evaluate critical and longer-term advanced open and interoperable technologies, in mobile, fixed and media networks

Encourage growth and investment in the UK telecom sector

Build telecoms skills and expertise in the UK

Support international companies to participate in the UK Open RAN market and collaboration with other international Open RAN facilities


SONIC Labs is a joint programme between ourselves and Ofcom, funded by DCMS as part of their 5G Diversification Strategy, to foster emergence of new solution providers in the telecom supply chain in the UK.

It builds on an earlier, one year project (SONIC-1) on how to build, integrate and test Open RAN systems and how to engage with Open RAN companies. By leveraging existing 5G testbed infrastructure, as well as existing innovation and ecosystem knowhow from Digital Catapult and Ofcom, the first integrations between products from Mavenir, Radisys, Accelleran, Benetel, Phluido, Druid, Effnet, Foxconn completed in June 2021.