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From lab to real life: VMO2 and Samsung advance trials

2G, 3G, 4G, 5G.jpg

Virgin Media O2 and Samsung have deployed multiple 4G and 5G sites across the UK and completed their the first 5G data call on Virgin Media O2's commercial 5G network, using the sites.

News of the collaboration between the two broke in October, when they set out to verify the capability and performance of Samsung’s 4G and 5G network solutions on Virgin Media O2’s commercial network.

Since the start of this year, field trials have been carried out at two sites, located in Tamworth and the Peak District, in England.

With the tests now complete the two said they can deliver "improved coverage and higher data capacity to enhance 5G customer mobile experiences".

Francis BJ Chun, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics UK said: “We look forward to playing a major part of the diversification of the network equipment supply chain in the UK market.”

VMO2 CTO Jeanie York added: “We are pleased to build on our previous collaboration with Samsung, delivering another 5G milestone in our push to developing Open RAN technologies.

“We will continue our collaborative efforts with Samsung to explore the possibilities of 5G and push the technology further to deliver superior end-user experiences for our customers.”

Samsung provided 4G radios, 5G Massive MIMO radios and baseband units for the trials and they were tested for interoperability against Virgin Media O2's 2G/3G/4G networks. The trials also validated the use of Samsung’s DSS capabilities, for potential future use.

The solutions cover a range of Virgin Media O2’s spectrum holdings, from low- to mid-band (800MHz, 2.1GHz and 3.5GHz). Specifically, Samsung delivered its 5G 64T64R Massive MIMO radios for the 3.5GHz spectrum, a major 5G spectrum band for the operator’s network.

Samsung's 5G 64T64R Massive MIMO radios are commercially deployed on a large scale in global markets, currently providing mobile service to millions of customers. This solution, in combination with Samsung's baseband unit, will deliver improved coverage and higher data capacity to enhance 5G customer mobile experiences.

Five-year DEI strategy

Elsewhere at Virgin Media O2, the combined company's first five-year diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy has just launched.

Called "all in", the drive has four objectives:

• Equal representation of women and men in the company’s senior leadership team

• To have driven forward progress for gender parity, including all gender identities and expressions across the organisation

• 15% of Virgin Media O2’s leadership team will be from minoritised ethnic groups

• 25% of Virgin Media O2’s wider organisation will be from minoritised ethnic groups

However, the company has gone a step further than others by offering to fund gender transition treatment for transgender and non-binary employees to help them access medical care, support and advice, with work underway to develop and implement a comprehensive package of support.

The company said: "This is on top of the company providing employees access to a range of services to support their health and wellbeing."

To achieve its objectives, Virgin Media O2 said it would introduce "more equitable policies to ensure it is offering the right support and flexibility to all employees, so they have everything they need to be their best – both at work and in their personal lives".

As part of this, the company will continue to work with its employee networks which represent the LGBTQ+ community; gender; disabled people; people who are neurodivergent; unpaid carers; and underrepresented ethnic groups, to help meet the needs of all its people and to ensure they feel valued.

In addition, it will continue to support external charities, agencies and community groups, and this includes partnering with youth empowerment organisation, 20/20 Change, to fund free life-changing mentoring courses to help young people from underrepresented ethnic groups to unlock and fulfil their potential.