UK’s first 5G Open RAN Site has been switched on by Vodafone UK and Samsung

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UK’s first 5G Open RAN Site has been switched on by Vodafone UK and Samsung

Samsung Electronics and Vodafone UK have announced the launch of the UK’s first 5G Open RAN site, which is now handling active customer traffic. This site, in Bath, UK, is the first of Vodafone’s scaled Open RAN network architecture in Europe, with over 2,500 more sites to come.

To commemorate the launch of their first site, the companies held a 5G live video call between Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK Chief Network Officer, and Julia Lopez, Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, UK Government, using Samsung’s 5G virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN), which was the UK’s first call on a commercial 5G Open RAN.

Vodafone UK picked Samsung as a prominent vendor to support a wide-scale 5G commercial deployment in Europe based on an Open RAN architecture powered by vRAN in June 2021, according to the company.

“Open RAN can radically evolve the telecoms industry, and we are excited to champion the technology in the UK,” said Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK. “This is an ecosystem which is only a few years old but the progress we have made so far is quite remarkable. Not only have we begun the first scaled deployment in the UK, but we have also installed the first 5G Open RAN site. Open RAN is now a real-world technology and it is truly exciting to see this technology flourish.”

“Samsung is proud to collaborate with Vodafone UK to switch on the UK’s first 5G Open RAN site,” said Thomas Riedel, Head of Samsung Networks Europe at Samsung Electronics. “This will help deliver the benefits of our carrier-grade 5G vRAN solutions to millions of Vodafone UK customers. Through our accumulated commercial 5G vRAN experience with leading operators across major markets globally, we look forward to pushing the boundaries of technological innovation and supporting the 5G journey across Europe.”

Samsung vRAN’s telco-grade performance metrics and features, such as security, inter-Radio Access Technology (inter-RAT) mobility, and inter-frequency handover, will be tested in the coming months by Vodafone and Samsung, as well as assuring compliance with Open RAN specs.

Samsung’s software-based RAN is fully virtualized and runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, providing capabilities and performance comparable to traditional hardware-based equipment.

The company’s vRAN provides more flexible deployments and network management efficiencies for mobile operators, while also helping them meet the needs of implementing new and existing services, thanks to its cloud-native and container-based design.

In addition, the companies will test various advanced network technologies that combine LTE and 5G to improve mobile user experiences.

This includes E-UTRAN New Radio Dual Connectivity (EN-DC), which boosts 5G speeds, reliability, and coverage by combining the resources of 4G and 5G networks, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), which assigns time-frequency resources based on traffic demands to accommodate users of both LTE and 5G in the same frequency band. In the first half of 2022, testing will take place.

Samsung is the first company to deliver 5G end-to-end solutions, including chipsets, radios, and the core.

Samsung’s market-leading product portfolio, which ranges from completely virtualized RAN and Core to private network solutions and AI-powered automation tools, is driving the industry to enhance 5G networks through continual research and development.

Currently, the company provides network solutions to mobile operators that connect hundreds of millions of people all over the world.