Samsung begins UK mass rollout of Open RAN

Samsung begins UK mass rollout of Open RAN

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Vodafone has started rolling out Open RAN telecoms equipment from Samsung across the UK.

The equipment is being installed across 2,500 mobile sites in Wales and the South-West of England. Starting in Devon, Vodafone kicked off its deployment using Samsung’s virtualized RAN (vRAN) software and radio units. These are replacing what Samsung calls legacy systems, but are replacing equipment from Chinese supplier Huawei.

For this installation, Samsung is providing its vRAN software supporting Multi-RAT (multiple radio access technology) — across 4G and 5G — and its O-RAN compliant radios in the low- and mid-bands, including its Massive MIMO radios.

Samsung has fully integrated its 64T64R Massive MIMO radios into Open RAN, demonstrating its capability to handle integration, which is more complex for 64T64R Massive MIMO radios, in comparison to single-band radios.

The deployment is the largest rollout in the UK for the technology, which allows equipment from different vendors to be used in the network. Test results exceeded the targeted KPIs, including 4G and 5G downlink and uplink throughput.

Vodafone installed its first 5G site in Bath in January of 2022 using the technology, followed by sites at Exmouth and Torquay in December of 2022.

“Vodafone has been at the forefront of Open RAN innovation and we are excited to kick-off the mass installation, working together with Samsung Networks and the rest of our ecosystem,” said Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK. “After rounds of testing and validation, we are well prepared to embark on this new phase in our Open RAN expansion, and look forward to opening up a new world of possibilities that will transform customer experiences.”

“Now we are witnessing how innovative technologies like Open RAN and vRAN can further bolster 5G capabilities, creating new paths and possibilities for network evolution,” said Junehee Lee, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Sales & Marketing, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “Following this historic milestone in Europe, we will continue working together with Vodafone to take their Open RAN networks to new heights.”

“The release of vRAN 3.0 comes at a good time, as Samsung is extending its vRAN solutions to this major ‘brownfield’ opportunity,” said Joe Madden, Founder & Chief Analyst, Mobile Experts. “This milestone is important because it represents Open RAN replacing legacy solutions at scale in a high-capacity environment, and it sets up Vodafone UK with the flexibility to monetize their RAN better in the future.”

Samsung also supported the automation of vRAN deployments process, easing the management of cell sites from a unified platform.;



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