O2 Telefonica taps Samsung for Open RAN in Germany

  • Samsung works with O2 Telefónica to launch the telco's first commercial open RAN site in Germany

  • The operator plans to open seven more sites in Germany in the coming months

  • Samsung's RAN sales are growing, although it is not one of the top three RAN vendors worldwide, a Dell'Oro analyst told us

Samsung is further strengthening its presence in Europe by launching O2 Telefónica’s first virtual RAN (vRAN) and open RAN site in Germany.

This site is located in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, and is Samsung’s first in Germany to be equipped with its 5G vRAN and open RAN systems. The Samsung equipment that O2 Telefónica is using also includes 64 transmit and 64 receive (64T64R) massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) radios. These units will provide the maximum coverage and capacity available through 5G in densely populated areas. Around 30,000 people live in the Landsberg am Lech area.

The two companies plan to expand the vRAN and open RAN network to seven additional sites in the region in the coming months, as well as integrate more automation capabilities into the network.

The German push builds on Samsung’s open RAN efforts with Vodafone in the United Kingdom and Romania. The Romanian deal will see all of the country’s major cities connected with vRAN and open RAN, Samsung said.

“Open RAN volumes are still small in Europe but what is perhaps more interesting is that while the European RAN market is dominated by the top three RAN players that make up more than 90% of 2023 revenues (Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei), Samsung is making progress,” said Dell’Oro Group vice president and RAN analyst Stefan Pongratz told Fierce in an email.

“Its European RAN revenues are still small relative to its overall RAN business but with these wins now in the UK, Romania, and Germany, Samsung is slowly gaining credibility across the European region,” Pongratz said. Overall, open RAN revenues have cooled off in 2023, after four years of growth, Pongratz said previously. 

Samsung Networks has established itself as one of the most experienced vendors with vRAN today. Verizon,SKT, KDDI and others have all deployed vRAN 5G network infrastructure already. So far, much of Samsung’s revenue in the virtualized RAN market will have been derived from the North American and Asian markets so far — but it appears that Europe is coming through.