By Mike Robuck
Vodafone picks Samsung for open RAN deployments
Samsung Electronics and Vodafone Group announced plans at MWC23 Barcelona to deploy open RAN across Europe, starting with network initiatives across Germany and Spain, while enhancing the operator’s 5G network in the UK.
The new projects will build on Vodafone UK’s successful launch of it’s first 5G open RAN site in Bath, UK in January 2022, using Samsung’s virtualised RAN (vRAN) platform.
The operator will carry out further pilot projects in Germany for open RAN using Samsung’s 2G and 4G vRAN and O-RAN Alliance-compliant radio products after conducting commercial pilots that were announced in 2022.
The vendor joined Vodafone’s testbed in Ciudad Real, Spain, which was created to benchmark mature RAN providers and compare performance across both traditional and open RAN environments.
Samsung plans to deploy its Massive MIMO radios and 4G/5G vRAN in the Ciudad Real Espana Advanced Testing Environment to evaluate and verify performance in Spain’s urban environment.
The companies implemented Samsung’s O-RAN Alliance-compliant Massive MIMO radios in Vodafone UK’s commercial network to expand 5G coverage across the country. As part of that project, Samsung’s 64T64R Massive MIMO radios are now integrated with 5G vRAN to carry commercial data traffic.
The companies also recently completed a data call using Samsung's vRAN and NEC's Massive MIMO radio to demonstrate multi-vendor interoperability for Vodafone’s network.
Samsung claimed the data call proved open RAN technology could enable multi-vendor integration of vRAN, not only with single-band radios but also with more complex Massive MIMO radios.