Samsung scores first big 5G break in Europe with Vodafone partnership

Samsung will provide 5G equipment for 2,500 rural sites in the south-west of England and Wales

Samsung has made significant headway in the European telecommunications market with its new Vodafone partnership, its first large-scale deal with a European operator. The British carrier selected the Chinese vendor for its virtualized RAN (vRAN) 5G deployment as European countries are looking for ways to replace Huawei as a supplier. Initially, the vendor will provide equipment for 2,500 rural sites in the southwest of England and most of Wales.

Samsung’s president and head of networks business Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun said the collaboration will be “the first scaled deployment” of the company’s 5G technologies in Europe.

In Britain, Huawei equipment must be removed from its 5G network by the end of 2027, with the government citing national security risks, while a total ban on the purchase of new Huawei 5G equipment for 5G began in 2021. Such requirements are good news for Samsung, which is hoping that expanding its network equipment footprint in Europe will help the company maintain growth.

Samsung is on a list of partners that includes Dell, Capgemini Engineering, NEC and Wind River that is part of Vodafone’s larger plan to establish Europe’s “first commercial deployment of Open RAN.”

“Open RAN provides huge advantages for customers,” commented Johan Wibergh, Vodafone chief technology officer. “Our network will become highly programmable and automated meaning we can release new features simultaneously across multiple sites, add or direct capacity more quickly, resolve outages instantly and provide businesses with on-demand connectivity.”

Wibergh added that Open RAN is “reinvigorating” the telecommunications industry by boosting the digital economy and stimulating technology innovation.

The collaboration is reminiscent of Samsung’s partnership with Verizon, announced in September 2020. The five-year, $6.6 billion contract primarily covered installing and upgrading the U.S. mobile provider’s infrastructure and positioned Samsung as one of Verizon’s partners for what the mobile provider called the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized 5G data session.

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