Samsung Electronics and Vodafone today announced their plans to accelerate 5G Open RAN expansion across Europe, beginning new open network initiatives in Germany and Spain while enhancing Vodafone’s 5G network in the U.K.

This builds upon the two companies’ initial network collaboration, including Vodafone UK’s successful launch of the first 5G Open RAN site in Bath, U.K. in January 2022, using Samsung’s virtualized RAN (vRAN) solution. Vodafone and Samsung are proving stable performance and capacity in Vodafone UK’s commercial network, exceeding targeted performance level and power savings in its strategic Open RAN sites (also known as its ‘Golden Cluster’), located in Exmouth and Torquay, England.

“As we grow and scale our network, we are excited to jointly drive collaborative Open RAN innovation and continue our groundbreaking work together with Samsung,” said Santiago Tenorio, Director of Network Architecture for Vodafone. “We look forward to continue bringing fundamental improvements to our wide-scale next-generation network, to further accelerate our open network approach for 5G expansion across Europe.”

New Europe 5G Initiatives

Building on their collaborative advancements, the two companies continue to grow their Open RAN footprint in Europe. New developments and projects include:

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  • 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.
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“Samsung’s virtualized Open RAN solutions are successfully running in Vodafone’s commercial network in the U.K., delivering performance on par with traditional mobile radio networks and providing Vodafone with an agile network on which to deploy new services and features,” said Thomas Riedel, Head of Samsung Networks Europe. “Vodafone has been a pioneer in the Open RAN space and they continue to break new grounds. We are excited to deepen our collaboration with Vodafone by extending our capabilities across Europe, and taking vRAN innovation to the next level.”

Continuing to claim deployment milestones, the two companies remain as strong partners in leading 5G Open vRAN innovation. Vodafone and Samsung are collaborating with other Open RAN leaders, to drive the acceleration of Open RAN with wider diversity and multi-vendor, open architecture.