Verizon and Samsung said on Tuesday they have completed a fully virtualised 5G data session over C-band spectrum -- from 4GHz to 8GHz -- in a live network environment.
The session was done in preparation for the US telco's expansion of its 5G Ultra Wideband serivce, its mmWave service, which will use its newly acquired C-band spectrum.
The pair's trials were conducted over Verizon's network in Texas, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. They used Samsung's virtualised RAN (vRAN) solution, which is built on its own software stack, and C-band 64T64R Massive MIMO radio in coordination with Verizon's virtualised core.
The trials achieved speeds level with that of traditional hardware equipment, the pair claimed.
"We have been driving the industry to large scale virtualisation using the advanced architecture we have built into our network from the core to the far edge. This recent accomplishment paves the way for a more programmable, efficient, and scalable 5G network," Verizon senior vice president of technology planning Adam Koeppe said.
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According to Verizon and Samsung, virtualisation is "critical" for delivering services promised by advanced 5G networks, such as massive scale IoT solutions, autonomous robotics in manufacturing, and smart city solutions.
Cloud-native virtualised architecture will offer greater flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability, and improved cost efficiency in networks, paving the way for wider scale mobile edge computing and network slicing, they said. The technology will also allow Verizon to rapidly respond to customers' varied latency and computing needs, they added.
By the first quarter of next year, the US telco said it expects to put its new 5G C-band spectrum into service in 46 markets, with its 5G Ultra Wideband service to be made available to 100 million people. Coverage will expand to 175 million people over 2022 and 2023, the company said.
When the remaining C-band spectrum is cleared for use, Verizon will offer its 5G Ultra Wideband service on C-band to 250 million people in 2024, it added.
Last year, Samsung signed a deal worth $6.6 billion to supply Verizon with network equipment.