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TELUS and Samsung Electronics 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.

The companies have extensively tested both the vRAN and Open RAN rollout in selected 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.

Exciting Milestone for TELUS

Following TELUS’ selection of Samsung as its 5G network vendor of choice 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.

Utilizing an Open RAN environment, 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 to 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.”       

TELUS’ bold approach to embracing a multi-vendor Open RAN brownfield deployment leverages other ecosystem collaborations as well. Cloud infrastructure will be provided by Wind River, tapping into 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 a 4th Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor complimented by Intel vRAN Boost, which is workload-optimized for Open RAN while being open and flexible, providing the foundation for a Distributed Unit (DU).

Expanding Collaborations with Samsung

“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.”

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 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 the 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.