Samsung adds virtualized 2G to its network portfolio

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Samsung’s virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) platform now supports 2G connectivity, addressing one of the company’s biggest weak spots in telecoms equipment.

The Korean electronics giant sees 5G and the shift to software-based, cloud-native infrastructure as a huge opportunity to crack a market that has traditionally been dominated by Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia.

Central to Samsung’s pitch is that, unlike other vendors, it is focusing its resources on 4G, 5G and 6G rather than legacy technologies, and can deliver an end-to-end proposition that combines chipsets, radios, and cores.

Samsung 2G networks

But although 3G is losing importance, 2G is still essential for many operators for emergency service calls, is used for certain mass IoT applications, and offers the widest platform for international roaming.

Samsung hopes that by adding support for “yesterday’s innovation”, its products will appeal to operators that still rely on 2G but still want to modernize their networks. Virtualization means 2G, 4G and 5G can all be supported from a single platform, simplifying infrastructure, and saving physical space.

“Virtualization of 2G will be an effective way for operators and enterprises looking to leverage this legacy technology, enabling operators to maintain 2G with more efficiency in deployment and management,” said Kiho Cho, VP and Head of Product Strategy at Samsung Networks. “It is also an optimal option for markets that are not ready for 4G or 5G, but still want to modernise networks and future-proof their technology investments.

“Legacy 2G network solutions are often outdated and take up too much physical space, with lower operational efficiency. By replacing traditional hardware-based 2G network equipment with a software-centric approach, operators can benefit from site simplification, centralised management, deployment efficiency and cost savings.

“Virtualization also aids in ensuring a smooth migration path to more advanced network technologies. When the time arrives that traffic diverts away from 2G, operators can phase it out, making room for and allocating resources to newer technologies. This can be easily done with a vRAN architecture, which can turn 2G on or off at any time—and use freed up server capacity for 4G and 5G traffic, rather than having to physically remove hardware infrastructure from cell sites.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.