South Korean tech giant, Samsung Electronics, and UK telecom firm, Vodafone, have reportedly launched the first fifth-generation (5G) open radio access network (RAN) site in the UK.
With the help of Samsung’s virtualized RAN solutions built on Vodafone’s architecture, Vodafone and UK government officials were able to hold a virtual call on the open RAN infrastructure on January 11th on Europe’s first scaled commercial open RAN project.
Vodafone has reached a milestone with the operation after it decided on choosing Samsung as one of the major partners for launching at least 2,500 open RAN sites, a move speculated to be Vodafone reducing its dependency on Chinese telecom company Huawei.
Open RAN is a next-gen wireless telecom standard that creates a more diverse and flexible vendor ecosystem where smaller firms have increased access to the network, made possible with the separation of hardware and software and having the hosting software control networks with open interfaces.
With traditional RAN technology, only a select network equipment and service suppliers are given access to the wireless network sites on a combined platform of software and hardware.
Thomas Riedel, Head of Samsung Networks Europe, said in a statement that the deployment will help Vodafone UK customers get the benefits of Samsung’s carrier-grade 5G vRAN solutions.
As per Samsung, the two firms will be testing out the performance metrics of Samsung vRAN as well as its equipment’s compliance with the open RAN specifications and network technologies, in order to assign time-frequency resources to house both 4G and 5G network users and boost 5G performance by integrating 4G and 5G resources.
Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK, stated that open RAN can drastically change the telecom industry, adding that the firm is thrilled to be leading this technology in the UK, having started the first scaled deployment in the country as well as installing the 5G Open RAN site.
Vodafone and Samsung will also test other advanced network technologies that make use of LTE and 5G, to improve the mobile user experience.