Vodafone UK has actually picked Samsung as a provider for its 5G facilities, as it looks for to expand its protection.
One expert defined the step as a “breakthrough” for Samsung, in a market anticipated to be controlled by Ericsson as well as Nokia, after the UK signed up with various other nations in prohibiting Huawei items.
Vodafone states it intends to widen its series of providers.
Samsung package will at first be set up in 2,500 country websites in the south-west of England as well as a lot of Wales.
The South Korean company is among a variety of business gotten by Vodafone to construct what it calls, “the “very first business release of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) in Europe”.
The Radio Access Network covers the equipment that provides the final link between your phone and the telephone network, and includes equipment such as mobile phone antennas on towers and buildings.
Because equipment from different suppliers is interoperable, the network can be put together using components from a range of companies, rather like Lego, as opposed to being built by a single supplier.
Johan Wibergh, Vodafone’s chief technology officer, said using Open RAN would allow the company to release new features simultaneously across multiple sites, add capacity more quickly and resolve outages “instantaneously”.
This feels like a key moment in the UK’s 5G story.
Ever since the mobile operators were told they were going to have to phase out Huawei’s equipment, they’ve been faced with a very limited choice – either Nokia or Ericsson – for their 5G kit. That, they warned, could mean higher prices and a slower rollout.
But now Samsung, which had long been considered to be out of the game in Europe’s telecoms equipment market, has made a stunning comeback and broken up the duopoly. Other deals seem likely to follow.
This is also a big step forward for the OpenRan concept, which would allow components from different suppliers to be switched out at base stations that, until now, have been kitted out by a single supplier.
The UK government – keen to limit the fallout from its Huawei ban – has been pushing the idea in the hope that it would bring more suppliers into the market.
But Nokia and Ericsson have already signed multiple 5G deals in the UK and have a big lead, which they will fight aggressively to defend.
In July 2020, the UK’s mobile providers were banned from buying new Huawei 5G equipment and told they must remove all the Chinese firm’s 5G kit from their networks by 2027.
It followed concerns that using the firm’s equipment posed a national security threat – something Huawei strongly denied.
Analysts saw this as a significant step for Samsung as it seeks to compete with the leading firms in the market.
“This collaboration stands for a significant market advancement for Samsung,” analyst Richard Webb, of CCS Insight said.
Samsung still had a long way to go to catch up with Ericsson and Nokia, he noted, but should be seen as “an authentic competitor”.
Mr Webb added: “This agreement win includes in its trustworthiness, as well as can be a signal for various other European drivers to take into consideration Samsung as an alternative.”
He also noted that Open RAN may be helpful to companies like Samsung seeking to challenge dominant players in the market.
“Vendor variety is among the primary tenets of the idea,” he said.