Leading Open RAN Invention in Europe: Samsung and Vodafone
After a successful launch in the UK, Samsung and Vodafone are working on next-generation 5G networks in Germany and Spain.
Samsung Electronics and Vodafone said today that they want to speed up the spread of 5G Open RAN across Europe. They will start new open network projects in Germany and Spain and improve Vodafone’s 5G network in the U.K.
This builds on the first time the two companies worked together on their networks. For example, Vodafone UK used Samsung’s virtualized RAN (vRAN) solution to launch the first 5G Open RAN site in Bath, U.K., in January 2022. Vodafone and Samsung are showing that Vodafone UK’s commercial network is stable in terms of performance and capacity. In its strategic Open RAN sites, also known as its “Golden Cluster” and located in Exmouth and Torquay, England, Vodafone UK is exceeding its performance and power savings goals.
“As we grow and expand our network, we’re excited to drive collaborative Open RAN innovation with Samsung and continue our ground-breaking work together,” said Vodafone’s Director of Network Architecture, Santiago Tenorio. “We’re excited to keep making big changes to our next-generation network on a large scale to speed up our open network strategy for 5G expansion across Europe.”
New 5G projects in Europe
Building on the progress they have made together, the two companies are still expanding their Open RAN presence in Europe. Among the new things and projects are:
- In the U.K.: The companies implemented Samsung’s O-RAN compliant Massive MIMO radios in Vodafone UK’s commercial network, efficiently expanding 5G coverage in the U.K. With this, Samsung’s 64T64R Massive MIMO radios are now successfully integrated with 5G vRAN, carrying commercial data traffic. Recently, the companies also completed a data call using Samsung’s vRAN and NEC’s Massive MIMO radio, demonstrating multi-vendor interoperability for Vodafone’s commercial network. This illustrates how Open RAN technology can enable multi-vendor integration of vRAN, not only with single-band radios but also with more complex Massive MIMO radios.
- In Germany: Vodafone will carry out comprehensive pilot projects for Open RAN using Samsung’s 2G/4G vRAN and O-RAN compliant radio solutions. In these commercial pilots announced in October 2022, Vodafone will use Samsung’s mature solutions — proven in large-scale commercial networks — to demonstrate outstanding performance, stability and reliability.
- In Spain: Samsung joined Vodafone’s testbed in Ciudad Real, which was created to benchmark mature RAN providers and compare performance across both traditional and Open RAN. Samsung will deploy its Massive MIMO radios and 4G/5G vRAN in CREATE (Ciudad Real España Advanced Testing Environment) to evaluate and verify their performance in Spain’s urban environment.
Thomas Riedel, Head of Samsung Networks Europe, said, “Samsung’s virtualized Open RAN solutions are running successfully in Vodafone’s commercial network in the U.K., delivering performance on par with traditional mobile radio networks and giving Vodafone an agile network on which to deploy new services and features.” “Vodafone was one of the first companies to use Open RAN, and they are still breaking new ground. We are excited to work more closely with Vodafone by expanding our capabilities across Europe and taking vRAN innovation to the next level.
The two companies continue to claim deployment milestones, and they continue to work well together to lead 5G Open vRAN innovation. Vodafone and Samsung are working with other Open RAN leaders to speed up the development of Open RAN by making it more open and allowing more vendors to use it.