The UK & Republic of Korea Open RAN R&D Collaboration Competition Winners

The UK/ROK competition examines a range of opportunities to improve the power efficiency of 5G Open RAN systems.​​ The competition was designed to support the overall objectives of the government’s 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy, particularly around Open RAN and international collaboration. A UK consortium bringing together UK academic and industry expertise will work with a South Korean consortium of SOLiD and RFHIC. DCMS and ROK require both consortia to work together and have put in place a government-level Terms of Reference to support and drive co-operation.

The intervention aims to:

  • Allow UK and South Korean companies and research organisations to collaborate on Open RAN R&D and develop new products and solutions for the market.
  • Accelerate the development of power-efficient technologies, products and solutions for Open RAN systems.
  • Conduct a joint assessment of the overall power budget of Open RAN base stations vs traditional base stations, in order to determine the critical items and make sure any progress impacts meaningfully on the consumption.
  • By the end of the collaboration, move power efficiency of Open RAN solutions closer to the benchmark set by incumbents..

Competition winners


Total project funding amount requested



West London, Central London, Surrey, Berkshire

UK Partners

  • AWTG
  • BAI Communications
  • Lime Microsystems
  • University of Surrey 5G/6G Innovation Centre
  • Virgin Media O2

Korean Partners (not in receipt of DCMS grant)

  • SOLiD Inc
  • RFHIC Corporation

Project Summary

Flexi-DAS aims to develop highly flexible Distributed Antenna System (DAS) radio heads/units based on field-programmable flexible radio chipsets and Radio Frequency Identification cards. It also aims to test Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RIS) that might be reflective (e.g. as those placed on walls) or transmissive (e.g. as those placed on windows) to steer the radio signals and cover difficult to reach areas.

The project will take a network management system and Open RAN “RAN Intelligent Controller” (RIC), and create interfaces from those to the RIS and DAS. This will allow the network management system and RIC to to receive status and other information from the RIS and DAS, and control them.

It will automate the control of the RIS and DAS in 5G provisioning, with the objective of minimising energy consumption, while satisfying user traffic and application demands. This automation is based on artificial intelligence developed within the project.

All of the above will be developed in the UK, by UK companies and a UK university.

Flexi-DAS places a strong emphasis on relevance to use cases and market potentials, and the need to maximise scalability through the consideration of capabilities such as neutral hosting. With that in mind, it encompasses a key operator and a neutral host pioneer to contribute to the use cases, technologies development and testing.

ROK Competition winners launch event and MOU signing

On Wednesday 30 November 2022, delegations from the Korean Institute for Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation (IITP) and the successful South Korean consortium attended the UK/ROK Open RAN R&D Collaboration launch event at the Digital Catapult offices. Also in attendance were Flexi-DAS, the UK winning consortium, and representatives from DCMS.

The aim of the event was to disseminate learnings and future plans from both projects. A Terms of Reference was signed between the President Sung Bae Jun from the IITP and Susannah Storey, Director General of Digital and Media policy at DCMS.

AWTG representative Ian Vernon commented:

Flexi-DAS and the technologies developed therein are key to being able to efficiently densify 5G network radio component deployments to the level necessary to achieve widespread high-performance 5G coverage, both indoors and outdoors.

AWTG is delighted to be working with such a high-quality consortium in the UK towards such ends, and is looking forward to collaborating with the excellent Republic of Korea consortium through the project.

President Sung Bae Jun of the Korean Institute for Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation said:

It is a great pleasure to launch this UK-ROK Open RAN R&D Collaboration which will see Korean and British companies working together to develop innovative solutions to key open RAN and telecoms challenges.

I am also pleased to sign a joint DCMS-IITP Terms of Reference which will guide our cooperation and support further UK-ROK exchange.  Both the UK and ROK recognise the importance of initiatives to support telecoms innovation and to support the resilience of telecommunication infrastructure supply chains.

To read more about the Open Networks Programme, please follow this link.

For any enquiries relating to the UK-RoK competition or the Open Networks Programme in general, please email:

To learn more about upcoming opportunities, please register your interest for diversification R&D opportunities.

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