The following mobile network equipment test lab facilities have already been established in the UK, operating within the wider 5G, Open RAN and telecom supplier diversification ecosystem.

Some of these test facilities are only currently available to a limited set of organisations within the funding consortium.  The table below summarises current levels of accessibility across these labs:

Lab Ownership / Funding Accessibility / Participation
SONIC Labs Public (UK Government) Available to those selected into one of SONIC's phased cohorts, through a formal application process.  
UK Telecoms Laboratory Public (UK Government) Facility still in development but is planned to be a bookable facility for use by network operators, network technology vendors, academics, researchers, businesses and end users
NeutrORAN Public-Private mix Limited to use by the NeutrORAN partners currently
Vodafone Open RAN Lab Private Limited to Vodafone use only
BT Labs TEAC UK Private

Available to those selected into BT's TEAC membership, through a formal application process.  

NEC Open RAN Lab Private Limited to NEC selected partners currently
SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre: SONIC Labs

The SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre - commonly known as SONIC Labs - has a mission to develop and operate an interoperability testing platform that can bring together and support existing and emerging network technology suppliers, system integrators, operators and service providers to test and validate interoperability and integration of open networking solutions, starting with Open RAN.

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UK Telecoms Lab

The government has announced plans to establish a national capability to support the security & resilience of the telecoms sector, based in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. 

The UK Telecoms Lab is being formed as a direct outcome of the 2019 Telecoms Supply Chain Review. The first of its kind in the country, the Lab will act as a secure research facility bringing together telecom operators, suppliers and academics to research and test innovative new ways of boosting the security, resilience and performance of the UK’s mobile networks.

The Lab will help get faster mobile technology rolled out quicker, ensure vital equipment and software are protected against cyber attacks, and enable new businesses to enter the UK telecoms market by testing to ensure equipment is fully interoperable.

Read the UK Government announcement

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

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Vodafone Open RAN Lab

In April 2021, the Vodafone group established a global Open RAN Test and Validation Lab facility in their corporate campus in Newbury. The lab is designed to fully address their specific and detailed technical and business requirements. 

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In 2017, BT partnered with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and Facebook (now Meta) to open the UK’s TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centre (TEAC), a UK lab bringing together start-ups and BT to develop new telecoms technologies.  TEAC UK gives start-ups access to BT's test networks and to BT engineers in Adastral Park. 

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NEC Open RAN Lab

NEC established its European 5G Centre of Excellence (CoE) and test lab in Ruislip, just outside of West London in 2020. It has a clear focus on Open RAN integration and end-to-end solution development and validation and has been supporting Open RAN trials and integration testing engagements with major European telco groups, like Telefonica, DT and Vodafone.

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