The U.K.’s Virgin Media O2 has tapped Samsung Electronics to conduct 4G and 5G trials in its commercial network. The trials aim to assess the interoperability between Samsung’s newer technology with Virgin Media O2’s 2G and 3G legacy networks.
Virgin Media O2 is a new company. It launched in June 2021 as a joint venture between Liberty Global’s Virgin Media and Telefónica’s O2 in a $38.55 billion deal. The business counts 47 million connections across broadband, mobile, TV and phone.
For the trial, Samsung will provide its 4G/5G baseband unit and 5G Massive MIMO radios, as well as 4G radios on both low-band and mid-band spectrums. Samsung says its equipment is open RAN compliant with some configuration changes and additional support in the future.
“Vendor diversity is crucial to developing safe, secure and more efficient networks,” said Jeanie York, CTO at Virgin Media O2, in a statement.
Woojune Kim, head of global sales & marketing for the Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, said, “With this trial, we are excited to join hands with Virgin Media O2 to demonstrate the readiness of our 5G network solutions for deployment in the U.K. and our capabilities in bringing immersive and reliable 4G and 5G mobile experiences to users.”
Samsung gains market share
With the retraction of Huawei from global networks outside of China, Samsung has been gaining market share in the telecom network equipment space. Its first major win came in 2020 from Verizon when the American carrier awarded Samsung a $6 billion network deal.
In addition, Samsung is working with Japan’s KDDI and NTT DoCoMo on 5G rollouts.
And of course, the South Korean vendor is also working with the South Korean operators, including KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus.