Not only advancing the next phase of their collaboration but also revealing a number of technological advances, Samsung Electronics and Virgin Media O2 have expanded their 4G/5G collaboration from the lab to the field, successfully completing the deployment of multiple live 4G and 5G sites across the UK.
In addition, in tandem with this deployment, the companies also completed the first 5G data call on Virgin Media O2’s commercial 5G network, using the sites.
Field trials have been jointly carried out since the start of this year, in Tamworth and the Peak District in the Midlands. These followed successful lab tests conducted in October 2021, validating the capability and performance of Samsung’s 4G and 5G offerings on Virgin Media O2’s commercial network. The field tests demonstrated interoperability between Virgin Media O2’s 2G/3G/4G networks and Samsung’s latest 4G and 5G services, and validated use of Samsung’s Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) capabilities, should they be required.
Samsung provided its latest network service for trials – including 4G radios, 5G Massive MIMO radios and baseband units. The offerings cover a range of Virgin Media O2’s spectrum holdings, from low- to mid-band (800MHz, 2.1GHz and 3.5GHz). Specifically, Samsung delivered its 5G 64T64R Massive MIMO radios for the 3.5GHz spectrum, a major 5G spectrum band for the operator’s network.
Samsung’s 5G 64T64R Massive MIMO radios are commercially deployed on a large scale in global markets, and, in combination with the company’s baseband unit, are designed to deliver improved coverage and higher data capacity to enhance 5G customer mobile experiences.
The Samsung radio service used for this trial can also be O-RAN compliant with some configuration changes and additional support, making it ready to leverage the multiple benefits of the new technology in the future.
“Samsung is excited to extend our network collaboration with Virgin Media O2 in the UK, advancing from lab trials to now delivering 4G and 5G in commercial networks out in the field,” said Francis BJ Chun, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics UK. “We look forward to playing a major part of the diversification of the network equipment supply chain in the UK market.”
Read more about UK 5G
- Latest part launched in Vodafone network modernisation programme to improve the 4G and 5G experience while retiring 3G networks sees next-generation mobile infrastructure deployed in towns and cities across the UK.
- Three UK’s Mobile Britain 2022 report reveals how nation is making the best of connectivity and reveals that 5G handset usage quadrupled in 2021 and use of its 5G network has increased by 385% since 2020.
- Digital Catapult suggests way forward for widespread 5G adoption at live events, as part of UK government’s 5G testbed scheme exploring the potential of 5G Broadcast to transform spectator experience at live events such as football and motor racing.
- UK Virgin Media O2 operator enlists virtual machine technology provider VMware to complete UK and EU 5G roll-out, seeing virtualising and modernising network essential to retaining market share across the UK and EU as it rolls out next-generation mobile services.
Jeanie York, chief technology officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We are pleased to build on our previous collaboration with Samsung, delivering another 5G milestone in our push to develop Open RAN technologies.
“We will continue our collaborative efforts with Samsung to explore the possibilities of 5G and push the technology further to deliver superior end-user experiences for our customers.”
Open RAN technology has been at the forefront of Virgin Media O2’s network infrastructure strategy for over two years, with its first trials announced in early 2020.