KDDI selects Samsung Core tech to power commercial 5G standalone network

As it continues its battle for market share in a market dominated by a powerful incumbent, Japanese operator taps Korean tech giant for cloud-native 5G standalone core to ensure high stability, reliability and optimised performance within the network

Acknowledging that network innovation will be key in addressing its customers in a hugely competitive local mobile market, and as part of its plan to usher in a new generation of services and applications available to consumers and enterprise customers, KDDI has enlisted Samsung Electronics to provide its cloud-native 5G Standalone (SA) Core for the operator’s commercial network across Japan.

The two companies have been working together for more than a decade, hitting major 5G network milestones including KDDI’s selection of Samsung as a 5G network solutions provider and 5G network roll-out on 700MHz. Only weeks ago, the firms announced the successful demonstration of service level agreement (SLA) assurance network slicing in a field trial conducted in Tokyo by the operator.

The demo, said to be an industry first, used SLA assurance network slicing using a radio access network (RAN) intelligent controller (RIC) on a live 5G SA network and the initiation of the commercial deployment of open virtualised RAN (vRAN) sites in Osaka, which is also the world’s first commercial MU-MIMO implementation with O-RAN compliant multivendor interoperability. In its collaboration, Samsung has been providing its 5G network solutions, which support the operator’s low-, mid- and mmWave spectrum bands – including Massive MIMO radio.

The intention of the new partnership is that Samsung’s 5G SA Core will deliver a range of advantages for KDDI’s network, including lower latency and high reliability, as well as 5G-enhanced capabilities.

The Samsung 5G Core solution supports both 4G and 5G networks, offering easy migration from 4G to 5G. The company’s 5G Core is also designed with features to ensure the stability and reliability of the network, such as an overload control feature to counteract sudden traffic spikes as well as geo-redundancy support. For geographic redundant deployment, Samsung and KDDI will be operating multiple cores in various locations, with each core dimensioned to pick up loads in case one of the active cores becomes unavailable due to traffic bursts or natural disasters.

The standalone architecture will enable KDDI to create an independent 5G network, enabling lower-latency capabilities that the operator regards as essential in supporting high-performance use cases such as smart factories, automated vehicles, cloud-based online gaming and multi-camera live streaming at sporting events.

Samsung’s 5G Core will also enable KDDI to optimise network slicing a feature that requires a full 5G SA Core. Given the ability for a single network to support multiple 5G use cases and applications at once, the tech is seen as accelerating the delivery of new services and meeting the tailored demands of enterprises. Samsung envisages operators such as KDDI as being able to create a low-latency slice for automated vehicles, an internet of things (IoT) slice for smart factories and a high-bandwidth slice for live video streaming – all within the same network.

“We strive to provide the best mobile experiences to our customers through network innovation, and our advanced 5G SA network will offer immense capabilities,” said Toshikazu Yokai, managing executive officer and general manager of the mobile network technology development division at KDDI.

“With Samsung’s 5G SA Core, we will offer unprecedented speed, instantaneous connectivity and high reliability which could bring new experience value for consumers and enterprises. We look forward to continuing advancing 5G networks to stay ahead of our customers’ needs.”

With the deployment of 5G SA Core, Samsung said it would provide a wide portfolio of its 5G solutions to KDDI, ranging from RAN to Core.

“KDDI has been at the forefront of opening up the next frontier of 5G services, and we are proud to see our long-term collaboration deepen with new opportunities as we drive continuous innovation and realise technology vision together,” said Junehee Lee, executive vice-president, head of global sales and marketing, networks business, at Samsung Electronics.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with KDDI to reshape the 5G services landscape in Japan and achieving new 5G milestones.”

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