Canadian operator Telus tapped Samsung Electronics to build what they claimed would be the country’s first open RAN 5G network, part of a move to expand an existing collaboration to brownfield deployments.

The companies cited positive results in tests of virtualised and open RAN which validated the telecoms-grade performance and reliability in a multi-vendor environment.

Telus plans to begin deploying the set-up in H1, with a “large-scale” rollout scheduled to begin in the middle of the year.

Uptake of open RAN in greenfield deployments has been slow to date: brownfield rollouts gives open RAN vendors a much larger playing field.

Telus noted vRAN allows it to replace hardware with software, while open RAN allows it to mix and match network components from a range of vendors.

It asserts the move would be one of “the first truly virtualised open RAN deployments within a complex, brownfield network environment”.

Telus stated Samsung’s 64T64R Massive MIMO radios will be among the equipment provided, along with third-party radio integration compatibility.

Samsung argued its AI-based service management and orchestration platform would help Telus accelerate vRAN rollouts “by enabling automated deployment of thousands of network sites simultaneously”.

Telus’ deployment will also use cloud infrastructure from Wind River and HPE servers equipped with fourth-generation Intel processors and vRAN Boost optimised for open RAN while providing the foundation for a distributed unit.

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