Samsung and Orange collaborate to take 5G networks to next level – with “Open RAN”

Samsung Electronics has announced it is one of the first global vendors to participate in the opening of Orange’s Open RAN Integration Centre near Paris, France.

This testing and integration space, which will enable companies from the Open RAN ecosystem to test and validate their products and services, and thus accelerate the development of this technology, is the first of its kind to open in France.

Traditional Radio Access Networks (RANs) consist of hardware and software integrated by a single provider, with software and hardware interfaces operating in a closed proprietary system. The so-called Open RAN technology makes it possible to open these networks to different suppliers and equipment manufacturers, thereby helping to improve the management and maintenance of these networks, reducing the costs of deployment and operation, making them more flexible in case of evolution, and adjusting them to the needs of end customers. It is also based on generic servers and natively integrates artificial intelligence into its operating principles. This technology is currently being specified and developed.

Convinced that Open RAN will be a pillar technology for future mobile networks, Orange invest in its development and plans to deploy in the coming years.

The Orange Open RAN Integration Centre inaugurated on Wednesday 10th November, is located at Orange Gardens in Châtillon, near Paris. It will be accessible to equipment suppliers of the Open RAN ecosystem, start-ups and system integrators, wishing to test the operation and interoperability of their components with those of other suppliers. The Open RAN Integration Centre network will also be remotely accessible.

The objective of the Open RAN Integration Centre is to allow, in the long term, the deployment of networks capable of working with hardware and software from different suppliers.

Orange and Samsung will collaborate to disaggregate the hardware and software elements of traditional RAN. Samsung’s virtualised RAN (vRAN), which has been proven in the field through commercial deployments with global tier one operators including the US, will be used.

“With the creation of an Open RAN Integration Centre, open to our partners worldwide, we want to accelerate the development of an open, intelligent, cloud-based RAN and create a rich Open RAN ecosystem in Europe. From 2025 onwards, our ambition is to deploy only Open RAN equipment across Europe ” said Michaël Trabbia, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Orange.

Open RAN
Orange Gardens, France

As one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, Orange provides mobile services to 222 million users in 26 countries including Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The group plans to deploy O-RAN Alliance-compliant base stations starting with indoor and rural configurations and expand to new deployments in the coming years.

“Open RAN is a major evolution of radio access that requires deeper cooperation within the industry,” said Arnaud Vamparys, Senior Vice President of Radio Access Networks and Microwaves at Orange. “With our European peers, we want to accelerate the development of Open RAN solutions that meet our needs. After the publication of common specifications, Orange’s Open RAN Integration Centre will support the development and tuning of solutions from a broad variety of actors,”

Samsung’s vRAN solutions can help ensure more network flexibility, greater scalability and resource efficiency for network operation by replacing dedicated baseband hardware with software elements.

Additionally, Samsung’s vRAN supports both low and mid-band spectrums, as well as indoor and outdoor solutions. Samsung is the only major network vendor that has conducted vRAN commercial deployments with Tier one operators in North America, Europe and Asia.

“We are pleased to participate in Orange’s innovative laboratory,” said Woojune Kim, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Sales & Marketing, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “Through this collaboration, we look forward to taking networks to new heights in the European market, enabling operators to offer more immersive mobile services to their users.”

By opening its Open RAN Integration Centre in Châtillon, near Paris, Orange will enable the testing and deployment of networks capable of operating with innovative technologies, which will serve as the backbone of the operator’s future networks.

At the centre, Samsung and Orange will conduct trials to verify capabilities and performance of Samsung’s vRAN, radio and Massive MIMO radio.

Samsung has been at the forefront of delivery of 5G end-to-end infrastructure solutions including chipsets, radios and core.

Photo – top of page: Orange facility in St Laurent du Var, France (R Barnes / Cleverdis)

Read also: Europe Smartphone Market in Q3 2021: Samsung holds on despite challenging climate

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