November 1, 2023
German operator O2 Telefónica is stepping up its efforts to embrace the latest radio access network buzzwords.
That, of course, means Open RAN and vRAN, which all the cool operators are into these days. While part of the point of these technologies is to open up the RAN vendor ecosystem, O2 Telefónica has chosen to partner solely with Korean giant Samsung on these trials. Perhaps cognisant of this paradox, the joint effort is being framed as a bid to set up even more flexible network architectures.
The trials will kick off at a lab in Munich, before moving on to a commercial 5G network in Landsberg am Lech, with the ultimate aim of achieving technical and operational readiness. Since other operators, such as Rakuten and Vodafone, have already achieved such readiness, this announcement indicates O2 Telefónica Germany is still at a relatively preliminary stage in this journey.
“We believe cloud-native and autonomous architecture is a central pillar of network transformation to accelerate the adoption of innovative services, and O2 Telefónica is working with the best players in the field,” said Mallik Rao, CTIO at O2 Telefónica in Germany. “We are delighted to team up with Samsung as one of the first telecommunications providers in the European Union to test new networking solutions. We look forward to delivering the best-in-class connectivity to bring a host of new benefits to customers in the future.”
“Samsung is leading the charge in advancing vRAN and Open RAN with its proven expertise in large-scale commercial networks across multiple continents,” said Junehee Lee, Head of Global Sales & Marketing, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “This collaboration with O2 Telefónica in Germany represents Samsung’s ongoing commitment to forging new pathways in vRAN and Open RAN, bringing the next-generation networks one step closer.”
While Samsung seems to be doing all the heavy lifting, there are a few other companies involved. Dell is providing the servers, Intel the chips, and Wind River the cloud platform. So that’s the vendor plurality box ticked then. They will also be checking out Samsung’s service management and orchestration software, which is designed to automate software-based network rollouts and thus speed up the whole process.
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