The ON-SIDE project will address key challenges associated with deploying private 5G StandAlone (SA) networks operating in Shared Access radio spectrum, such as obtaining suitable spectrum licences and affordability of kit, while supporting the UK government and Ofcom’s broader telecoms diversification and spectrum management strategies.

Key information

Total project funding amount: £1,694,542

Project date(s): -

Category: Government Funded

Location(s): Glasgow

Status: Open


  • Cisco
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Glasgow City Council
  • AMD
  • University of Glasgow
  • BBC
  • Neutral Wireless Ltd
  • Scottish Wireless Ltd

Project Summary

5G MoDE (Mobile oRAN for highly Dense Environments), seeks to revolutionise how we manage dense mobile network traffic using oRAN. 

Led by VMO2, our consortium will develop and demonstrate the effectiveness of the 5G MoDE concept in real-world scenarios. Mavenir, a key consortium member and technical lead, and will provide essential hardware, software, and services. 

5G MoDE is not just about winning a competition; it's about redefining the future of mobile connectivity, one open network at a time. Our project aims to have a significant impact on the high-density mobile traffic landscape, driving the adoption of open mobile networks and creating a more connected and empowered world.

Through this project, we envision overcoming the challenges of high-density mobile network traffic by leveraging advanced technologies and intelligent design. Our focus areas include a RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) Intelligence, power-saving and capacity optimisation, centralised cloud units, zero-footprint implementation, and Massive MIMO AAUs. By combining these elements, we aim to enhance spectrum efficiency, reduce energy consumption, optimise network capacity, minimise environmental impact, and provide superior service even in densely populated areas.

Peter Shearman, Head of Innovation, Cisco UKI said: 

“From industrial environments to major broadcasting moments, private networks offer significant potential. ON-SIDE will build on the successes and learnings of previous 5G projects to tackle some of the very real barriers to widespread adoption of private networks.

We will address these challenges head on, with a range of solutions, ranging from the deeply practical to the highly innovative. ON-SIDE is about more than just theoretical research, we are excited to test our solutions in Glasgow where we will gather learnings for both broader dissemination, and provide the UK with an opportunity to demonstrate global leadership in radio spectrum management”.

Organisations participating in this project


Cisco is the worldwide leader in IT and networking. Cisco helps companies of all sizes transform how people connect, communicate, and collaborate.

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is a 5-star QS-rated University. The university is the UK’s top 20 universities for research intensity according to the Times Higher Education’s analysis of REF2014.

Glasgow City Council

Glasgow City Council is the local government authority for the City of Glasgow, Scotland.


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. It is the worlds oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees.

Neutral Wireless

Neutral Wireless has extensive experience in designing and deploying shared spectrum cellular and fixed wireless access radio networks, which can complement and support existing deployments.

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