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Samsung and Virgin Media O2 have successfully deployed multiple live 4G and 5G sites in the U.K., advancing the next phase of their collaboration. 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 were jointly carried out on the sites — located in Tamworth and the Peak District, England — since the start of this year. They followed successful lab tests conducted in October 2021, validating the capability and performance of Samsung’s 4G and 5G solutions on Virgin Media O2’s commercial network.
In addition, these field tests demonstrated interoperability between Virgin Media O2’s 2G/3G/4G networks and Samsung’s latest 4G and 5G solutions, and validated use of Samsung’s Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) capabilities, should they be required.
“We are pleased to build on our previous collaboration with Samsung, delivering another 5G milestone in our push to developing Open RAN technologies,” said Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2.
“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.”
Samsung provided its latest network solutions for trials — including 4G radios, 5G Massive MIMO radios and baseband units. The solutions cover a wide 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, currently providing mobile service to millions of customers. This solution, in combination with Samsung’s baseband unit, will deliver improved coverage and higher data capacity to enhance 5G customer mobile experiences.
The Samsung radio solution 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 U.K., advancing from lab trials to now delivering 4G and 5G in commercial networks out in the field,” said Francis BJ Chun, President and CEO, Samsung Electronics U.K.
“We look forward to playing a major part of the diversification of the network equipment supply chain in the U.K. market.”
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.