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


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

Dorset Open Networks Ecosystem (DONE)

The Dorset Open Network Ecosystem (DONE) builds on the innovative work already undertaken by Dorset Council in collaboration with other consortium partners, including the multi-award winning 5G RuralDorset and Wessex Digital Infrastructure Accelerator (WDIA) projects


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


5G ONE4HDD aims to design and deploy a Mobile 'Cell on Wheels' (CoW) equipped with Open RAN (Radio Access Network) technology, offering reliable connectivity in crowded venues


Working from AMRC North-West in Blackburn, FoFoRAN will develop, test, and showcase flexible Open RAN deployment approaches for the manufacturing sector


BEACH is a project to implement an energy-efficient shared mobile network in Worthing that adapts to rapid changes in user demand.

Reach (Blackpool)

Tourist hotspots drive significant volumes of mobile traffic, presenting a challenge to existing mobile technologies. The REACH project brings together an exciting group of partners to find new solutions to address this challenge by improving the delivery of data in High Density Demand (HDD) areas

Sunderland Open Network Ecosystem

The 'Sunderland Open Network EcosysTem' (SONET) Project is poised to transform the way we engage with live sports and esports. the project will showcase a highly efficient, state-of-the art High-Density Demand (HDD) Open RAN solution at the Stadium of Light and the new British Esports Arena, part of the National Esports Performance Campus in Sunderland

One Western O-RAN (Bath)

ONE WORD, the Open Networks Ecosystem Western Open RAN Deployment, will deploy a 5G Stand Alone RAN in four High Density Demand (HDD) scenarios; the City of Bath, around Cardiff’s Principality stadium, the historic Shelsley Walsh motorsport venue, and Shrewsbury’s Quarry Park

Navigate (London)

Project NAVIGATE aims to design, deploy, test and validate a blueprint for deploying open, shareable, public mobile 5G capacity in High Density Deployment (HDD) environments at scale, with Open RAN


The HiPer-RAN (Highly Intelligent, Highly Performing RAN) project aims to develop an open platform able to host diverse, software-based intelligence that accounts for the whole RAN architecture

Liverpool City Region HDD

The Liverpool City Region HDD project aims to showcase the benefits of Open RAN (Open Radio Access Network) technology in optimising real-world performance in high-connectivity environments

Cambridgeshire Open RAN Ecosystem (CORE)

The project will deliver a cutting-edge, multi-vendor 5G Open RAN neutral host platform catering for High Demand Density (HDD) locations


The SCONDA (Small Cells ORAN in Dense Areas) Project, seeks to address the unique technical and commercial challenges of High-Density Demand areas and will be the first in the world to integrate Open RAN and Traditional RAN in a high density, high demand environment handling live traffic


The 5G SwaP-C project aims to revolutionise wireless communication technology by developing high-frequency and energy-efficient ultra wide band gap power amplifiers for massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) systems


The ECO-TAP project’s vision is to improve the energy efficiency of the networks that interconnect disaggregated servers in data centres (i.e., bespoke racks of only CPUs, or memory or network interface cards) by introducing a new Hybrid Cellular-Switched Topology


Project AURA (Agile Universal Radio Architecture) brings together a consortium to design a tightly integrated O-RU solution with an emphasis on flexibility to target different frequency bands and form factors, greater power efficiency, and with the goal to manufacture the product in the UK at competitive cost


As an extension of FRANC projects, ARIANE aims to test – under carrier grade conditions, the impact on an Open RAN network of multiple apps running individually and concurrently in a multi-RIC environment


PerceptRAN is engaged in identifying and addressing the primary challenges associated with Open RAN platform automation and security

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


TUDOR (Towards Ubiquitous 3D Open Resilient Network) is aiming to tackle the digital divide and energy efficiency through advanced technology innovations in open telecommunications systems

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