Technology giant Samsung unveiled the British mobile operator today O2 (VMO2) will soon become one of the first providers in the country to conduct commercial testing of its latest 5G Massive MIMO radios, as well as 4G radio stations in both the low-frequency and medium-frequency spectrum. The new kit will also be compatible with OpenRAN.
Now Ericsson remains the main strategic provider for O2the deployment of 5G infrastructure in the UK, but like all operators, they have sought to attract more competition in the market since the government decided to ban Huawei (ie leaving only Ericsson and Nokia as the two dominant providers).
Earlier this year, Vodafone announced that Samsung, NEC and others will support their upcoming commercialization of a new 4G and 5G network using Open a radio access network (OpenRAN) compatible kit (here) and now it looks as if O2 may also be courting Samsung for their own plans.
Just to summarize. The O-RAN approach seeks to standardize the design and functionality of the mobile suite and software, thus increasing the number of companies that can deliver them through vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology (note: country RAN covers infrastructure, masts and antennas).
According to the announcement, Samsung’s test will provide its advanced solutions that include its baseband, 5G Massive MIMO radios, and 4G radios in one device, in both the low and mid spectrum, while being compatible with Open RAN. “with some configuration changes and additional support in the future”(Ie not quite compatible with O-RAN .. yet).
Woojune Kim, Samsung’s executive vice president, said:
“With this ordeal, we are excited to come together Virgin Media O2 to demonstrate the readiness of our 5G network solutions for deployment in the UK and our ability to provide immersive and reliable 4G and 5G mobile experiences to consumers. At Samsung, we are constantly improving the mobile experience with powerful networking solutions that advance and take 5G to new levels. ”
Janey York, technical director of VMO2, said:
“The diversity of providers is crucial for the development of secure, secure and more efficient networks. We look forward to beginning these initial tests with Samsung, which is another milestone in our ongoing journey to provide the best possible 5G experience for our customers, as well as strengthen our 4G network as we strive to upgrade the UK. ”
Unfortunately, the message does not give any indication of where and when the commercial experience with O2’s 4G and 5G mobile network will take place, although such things often take a little time to set up and then evaluate. The test will also assess the interoperability between Samsung’s latest solutions and 2G and VMO2 3G hereditary networks.
It should be noted that at the moment this is completely separate from Virgin Mobile a service that is still powered by an existing MVNO agreement with Vodafone. The other question will be whether what Samsung offers is enough to be really competitive with Nokia and Ericsson, but that’s the test.