NeutrORAN is a project designed to explore a new way to build sustainable, accessible and inclusive-as well as cost-effective-rural mobile connectivity, by designing, deploying and testing a rural, shared, neutral host, Open RAN network in Wales.

It is part-funded by UK Government and limited to use by the NeutrORAN partners currently.

NeutrORAN is a partnership between the DCMS, the Welsh Government, NEC, Cellnex, Cisco and the Menai Science Park (M-Sparc), funded by private and public sources and established as one of the DCMS telecom supply chain diversification initiatives, alongside FRANC and SONIC.

For NeutrORAN, NEC designs, integrates, builds and operates a virtualised, disaggregated open RAN shared network platform in their 5G Centre of Excellence (COE) lab just outside west London. This connects and controls the radio units deployed on Cellnex towers and at M-Sparc in rural northwest Wales, serving multiple UK mobile operators and their end-users.

The current scope of the trial is to demonstrate and validate that the solution itself works effectively and efficiently and that any technical or operational challenges can be better understood and improved. At this stage, it is not open for public use, which means that any parties interested in accessing the network area need to do so with the support of NEC and the mobile operators.

One of the aims of NeutrORAN is to leverage and follow on from previous initiatives by the four UK mobile operators, NEC, BT and a number of other vendors and neutral hosts to specify and trial the Neutral Host In-Building architecture developed by JOTS, the UK’s Joint Operator Technology Specification.