DSIT Funded Projects

The Open Networks R&D fund, delivered through the Department of Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of open interface architectures, such as Open RAN. The government has allocated £250m for these activities over three years from March 2022 to March 2025.

The programme aims to deliver on the following R&D Objectives:


Accelerate open-interface products and solutions - ensuring they are truly interoperable, performant and sustainable - to support our long-term vision for a more open and innovative telecoms market.


Incentivise and derisk accelerated deployment in the UK - to encourage and accelerate network operators to adopt and deploy open network solutions.


Develop an internationally recognised UK telecoms innovation ecosystem positioning the UK as a leading global market and focal point for research into open network technology.

We are already seeing momentum in the global market to ensure that open-interface solutions are near commercial grade for wide-scale deployments. Mobile network operators, builders and suppliers are taking proactive steps to support Open RAN trials and committing to deployments in their commercial networks.

The UK Government’s investment in the Open Networks Programme will accelerate and support these initiatives - enabling the development of open interface solutions and stepping up our efforts to shape technology standards alongside key industry and international commercial partners.

The fund will help to:

  • Evolve the UK innovation ecosystem (through the development of the UK Telecoms Innovation Network, and coordinating and shaping technical standards);

  • Accelerate maturity (through the Future RAN competition - FRANC, the Future Open Networks Research Challenge - FONRC and the Open Networks Ecosystem competition - ONE);

  • Facilitate international research and development (for instance the UK/Republic of Korea Open RAN R&D collaboration);

  • Develop facilities and demonstration capabilities (SONIC Labs and UK Telecoms Lab);

  • Drive adoption (for instance NeutrORAN and the High Density Demand projects in the Open Networks Ecosystem competition - ONE).

Current projects: Open Networks Ecosystem Competition

Current projects: The UK/Republic of Korea (ROK) Open RAN R&D collaboration competition

Current projects: Future Open Networks Research Challenge

Current projects: Future RAN Competition


Project Proteus is developing an Open RAN solution architecture that abstracts from the underlying hardware platform


The Coordinated Multipoint Open Radio Access Network (CoMP-O-RAN) is deploying densified outdoor small cell clusters using 5G New Radios (NR) to complement existing mobile networks, reduce the cost-per-bit and deliver enhanced 5G network performance


BEACON-5G is developing a high performance Open RAN 5G system aligned with Open RAN framework and principles, focusing on reconfigurability, security, trustworthiness, and service architecture agility


OpenRAN ARTS is developing a Future RAN Radio Test system, for use by 3rd party radio development vendors designing, building and testing 5G Future RAN radios


O-RANOS is addressing key architectural and technological challenges for deploying end-to-end O-RAN multi-domain (private-public) interoperable network solutions


The SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre (SONIC) is delivering a facility for testing interoperability and integration of open networking solutions, starting with Open RAN

Towards AI Powered and Secure Carrier-Grade Open RAN Platform

This project aims to realise a carrier-grade cloud solution, enabling operators to deploy Open RAN network functions easily and securely, with a focus on lowering the barrier to entry for new entrants

Scalable Optical Fronthaul for 5G OpenRAN

This project is developing ground-breaking, UK-made, scalable, cost-effective optical interface technology to enable dense roll out of optical fibre 5G radio access networks (RANs) with open digital interfaces for interoperability and low latency

Best of British RAN Development

The Best of British RAN Development project (BoB) is demonstrating a commercial and technically viable Radio Access Network architecture designed, developed and manufactured in the UK

Accelerating RAN Intelligence in 5G (ARI-5G)

This project is exploring interoperable architectures, validating the xAPP model for different software solutions on the RIC platform and promoting substantive advances in power and spectrum management

Energy-efficient Cloudlets for ORAN (ECORAN)

The ECORAN project aims to reduce the power consumption of the commodity hardware used by introducing novel ways of interconnecting and managing servers, accelerators, storage and interfaces in small processing cells (cloudlets)


The Flexible, Efficient and High-Performance 5G Open RAN project is creating “Flex-5G”, a solution realising a complete 5G SA network similar in physical appearance to a large computer that could be installed, for example, in premises such as a factory, office or even your home

Secure 5G Platform using Novel, Efficient Wideband PA

This project is developing a unique and novel 5G O-RAN platform able to provide better efficiency, higher security and a wide frequency range enabling it to be ready for future 5G bands


ORanGaN is working to develop a sovereign UK supply chain, manufacturing processes, and packaging solutions, for radio frequency gallium nitride (RF-GaN) devices


This project is developing a 5G Open & Diversified RAN Integration solution for private mobile networks, that is low cost, secure, and capable of integrating with public networks

UK 5G DU-Volution

5G DU-Volution is promoting the integration of growing RAN suppliers at all levels of the architecture, in both software and hardware, of one of the most challenging RAN components: the Distributed Unit


The project is testing and demonstrating a multiple operator, neutral host solution using an Open RAN ecosystem