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TPG Telecom scores 5G firsts with Samsung and Nokia

Inaki Berroeta VHA.jpg

TPG Telecom is to conduct Australia’s first 5G virtualised RAN (vRAN) trial on 26GHz, using integrated mmWave solution.

In collaboration with Samsung, the trial will test mobile and fixed wireless services using the Korean manufacturer's Compact Macro and vRAN solution. Samsung will place its vRAN solution in TPG's brand-new Innovation Lab in the Sydney suburb of Glebe, and Samsung’s latest 5G mmWave product Compact Macro, will be deployed in the wider Glebe area.

It is the first trial of its kind to be conducted in Australia.

“We are very pleased to partner with Samsung as part of our new Innovation Lab to drive product and technology innovation by trialling virtualisation,” said Iñaki Berroeta (pictured), CEO at TPG Telecom.

“Deploying mmWave spectrum on our 5G network together with vRAN architecture will allow us to develop exciting 5G use cases for industry verticals and enable the delivery of even faster speeds and greater capacity for our customers.”

 TPG is investing AU$108 million to acquire spectrum in all available license areas in the 26GHz band – a move that will triple its holdings. For TPG, which was formed following the merger of Vodafone and Hutchison Australia last year, the strategy echoes that of other Hutchison businesses, such as Three UK, which holds 100MHz of contiguous 5G spectrum.

With mmWave spectrum, TPG said it will be able to offer high speed data services and immersive use cases for its mobile and home users. Its fibre assets combined with a network of small cells will enable the deployment of vRAN architecture.

Samsung’s commercial vRAN solution is built on the company’s independently developed stack, and runs on commercial-off-the-shelf servers. It has been commercially deployed for global tier one operators’ networks in markets outside of Australia, and recently expanded capabilities to support 3.5GHz Massive MIMO radio.

“Samsung is excited to begin this trial with TPG Telecom powered by our innovative 5G vRAN solution and latest integrated 26GHz mmWave product, which will be the first in Australia,” said Woojune Kim, EVP and head of global sales and marketing, networks business at Samsung Electronics.

“Through a combination of our powerful 5G solutions and ongoing efforts in 5G development, Samsung looks forward to helping TPG Telecom gain the full benefits of 5G to reshape the value of mobile experiences for users and enterprises.”

The news broke only days after TPG announced it is also working with Nokia to switch on the world's first live 5G standalone 700MHz service in Australia.

Low band 5G coverage at 700MHz, which is the lowest 5G frequency band deployed in Australia with the largest range, will enable TPG Telecom to provide wide outdoor 5G services, as well as deep indoor 5G coverage in urban and suburban areas to its customers.

Barry Kezik, executive GM mobile and fixed networks at TPG Telecom, said: “We’re excited to be the first network in the world to realise the true potential of low band 5G SA at 700MHz. TPG Telecom’s low band 5G will expand our 5G coverage, supporting our goal of reaching 85% of the population in Australia’s top six cities by the end of the year and changing the way people and things connect to the TPG Telecom 5G network.”

Dr Robert Joyce, CTO at Nokia Oceania, said: “Nokia is proud to support another 5G world first. We have a long-standing partnership with TPG Telecom, and we have jointly developed our unique triple band radio solution specifically for them. Today we get to see the result of that joint effort and collaboration which will deliver premium wide area 5G SA coverage for TPG Telecom and its customers.”

Today Samsung released its earnings guidance for Q2, 2021, in which it projected consolidated sales of approximately 63 trillion Korean won ($55.4 billion), representing an increase of 18.94% year on year, while operating profit is on track to increase by 53.37%.