MWC 2023: What We Heard About Virtualization, Open Networks, and Sustainability

By Kali Pickens, Director of Marketing, Networks Business, Samsung Electronics America

MWC 2023 was an incredibly exciting event that showcased the latest and greatest advancements in mobile technology. From the moment the doors opened, attendees were greeted with a dizzying array of cutting-edge gadgets, applications, and software solutions that promised to revolutionize the way we work, communicate, and entertain ourselves. The sheer scale and scope of the event was truly breathtaking, with thousands of exhibitors from around the world vying for attention and accolades. Plus, it was great to reunite in-person in the amazing city of Barcelona.

One of the most memorable aspects of MWC was the emergence of new 5G technologies, which promise to usher in a new era of cost-effective, high-speed, low-latency communications. In my opinion, some of the more significant announcements were focused on virtualization, open networks, and sustainability.

Network Virtualization Continues to Grow
Virtualization is one of the key trends driving the future of mobile technology. It involves the creation of virtual versions of hardware into software allowing for greater flexibility, scalability, and cost savings, as well as easier management of complex systems. At MWC, we heard announcements from various companies about new entrants into the virtual RAN (vRAN) realm and new chipsets. It seems as if more and more are entering the vRAN space each year.

While it’s great to see the momentum from the industry shift towards virtualization, I think it’s important to look at how far those already committed to this approach have come. This year at MWC, Samsung was excited to announce many new advancements in vRAN.

For example, our live O-RAN compliant vRAN and VMWare’s Telco Cloud Platform, developed for DISH Wireless’ 5G network buildout. Samsung is an industry leader in virtualization with our cloud-native, containerized vRAN. We were the first to bring vRAN to market and provide a commercially available fully virtualized 5G RAN delivered end-to-end from a single vendor. Samsung's next-generation vRAN also known as vRAN 3.0, is bringing new features to the market, including far wider bandwidth support for massive MIMO radios and adaptive core allocation, which will automatically assign CPU cores to remain proportional to the number of active cells.

The Promise of Open Networks
Open networks are another critical trend that is shaping the future of mobile technology. They involve using open standards and protocols to enable interoperability between different devices and networks. This allows for greater innovation, competition, flexibility in the industry, and better security and privacy.

The O-RAN Alliance is a global organization focused on developing open and intelligent radio access network (RAN) architectures for the next generation of wireless networks, including 5G and beyond. At MWC, they led a briefing with multiple panel discussions covering topics such as the maturity of the O-RAN ecosystem, energy efficiency of open networks, and ongoing trials and deployments.

Samsung is a leader in Open Networks, with our fully O-RAN compliant radio and vRAN solutions and with multiple deployments globally. We made two significant announcements at MWC in this space, including:

  • Samsung is working with DISH Wireless on their new 5G network rollout, having delivered over 24,000 O-RAN-compliant 5G radios and launched initial sites last month.
  • We continue to expand our relationships with Vodafone by announcing new trials in Spain and Germany. And, we announced a first live data call in the U.K.

Reducing Carbon Footprint in Telecom
Sustainability is an increasingly important issue in the mobile telecommunications industry. As the world becomes more aware of the environmental impact of technology, companies are under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt more sustainable practices. Per the GSMA, 85% of operators rate energy efficiency as their number one priority in network transformation. On the subject of going green, we read announcements about vendors announcing new products and innovations to improve power usage at cell sites and improve network energy efficiencies; and a large electronics manufacturer has pledged to be carbon neutral globally by 2050. Chip makers and server suppliers are equally concerned, noting the efforts they're making to reduce energy consumption.

Samsung is a principal player in the effort to reduce energy usage across all of our business units. Our vRAN contains energy-saving features such as the ability to shut down power in cells that are not needed at various times due to low traffic and the Samsung Networks Chipset, which uses little power while combining a CPU, memory, I/O ports, and secondary storage into a tiny footprint. 

Overall, MWC lived up to its promises to be an exciting event for the mobile telecommunications industry. With significant announcements on virtualization, open networks, and sustainability, we saw a range of innovative technologies and initiatives on display. From 5G virtualization to open-standard hardware to green data centers, the future of mobile technology is bright and full of possibilities.


The editorial staff had no role in this post's creation.