TELUS Partners With Samsung To Build Canada’s First 5G Virtualized RAN, Open RAN Network

TELUS Partners With Samsung To Build Canada’s First 5G Virtualized RAN, Open RAN Network

TELUS and Samsung Electronics announced today that they will build Canada’s first commercial virtualized and open radio access network (RAN) — an intelligent, next-generation technology that offers enhanced performance, flexibility, energy efficiency and automation. The companies are expanding their collaboration from greenfield (new builds) to brownfield (existing infrastructure) deployments.

Following TELUS’ selection of Samsung as its 5G network vendor in June 2020, this revolutionary approach to infrastructure deployment embodies the essence of collaboration, bringing together manufacturers and providers to create a modular, state-of-the-art wireless network. It is also one of the first truly virtualized Open RAN deployments within a complex, brownfield network environment.

With an Open RAN, TELUS is able to use components from different manufacturers that best meet its needs, while a virtualized radio access network (vRAN) allows the use of software instead of hardware. This provides TELUS with faster access to the latest technologies as they become available, helping enhance customer experiences and fuel network innovation, while increasing opportunities for equipment vendors.

“This is a very exciting milestone for TELUS and the industry overall, as we now have the most flexible way to offer a diversified set of services to Canadians, unlocking new levels of mobile experiences,” said Nazim Benhadid, Chief Technology Officer at TELUS. “We are proud to be the first Canadian telecommunications company to integrate this cutting-edge technology, together with Samsung and our other partners.”

“Innovation is not a result, but a continuous process that transforms our daily lives,” said Junehee Lee, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Sales & Marketing, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “TELUS and Samsung have been spearheading a meaningful transformation in mobile communications and we look forward to continuing to unleash the full benefits of software-centric innovation, by advancing our industry-leading vRAN and Open RAN.”

The companies have extensively tested both the vRAN and Open RAN rollout in select Canadian markets with excellent results, validating the telco-grade performance and reliability of multi-vendor Open RAN technology, powered by Samsung’s vRAN solutions. Commercial deployment will begin in the first half of this year and a large-scale network rollout is expected to begin mid-2024.

For this expanded collaboration, Samsung will deliver its versatile vRAN software and proven Open RAN compliant solutions, including its 64T64R Massive MIMO radios, as well as the support for third-party radio integration. Samsung’s solutions include its latest vRAN 3.0 for 4G and 5G, which features enhanced capabilities for improved energy savings, optimized performance and intelligent automation via Samsung’s Service Management and Orchestration (SMO). Samsung’s AI-based SMO will help TELUS accelerate vRAN rollouts at scale by enabling automated deployment of thousands of network sites simultaneously. It will also provide TELUS with a comprehensive set of capabilities for end-to-end automation for multi-party solutions, enabling easier deployment, operation and optimization of their network.

TELUS’ bold approach to embrace a multi-vendor Open RAN brownfield deployment leverages other ecosystem collaborations as well. Cloud infrastructure will be provided by Wind River, tapping the company’s experience in real-time operating systems and cloud-native, distributed edge platforms. Additionally, Hewlett Packard Enterprise will deliver HPE ProLiant DL110 Gen11 servers featuring 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor with Intel vRAN Boost, that are workload optimized for Open RAN while being open and flexible, providing the foundation for a Distributed Unit (DU).

“vRAN and Open RAN remain at the forefront of network transformation, with Samsung continuing to demonstrate leadership in proving virtualized Open RAN’s ability to deliver high performance and efficiency in commercial 5G networks,” said Stefan Pongratz, Vice President and Analyst at the Dell’Oro Group. “Introducing vRAN and Open RAN into the Canadian market with TELUS represents another formidable step in the re-shaping of the RAN for long-term advantage.”