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Samsung Continues Open RAN Leadership with Participation in NTIA Wireless Innovation Fund Set to Advance Interoperability, Performance and Security

By Mark Louison, EVP & General Manager, Networks Business, Samsung Electronics America

2/12/2024

In April 2023, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the formation of the Wireless Innovation Fund (WIF) that will invest $1.5B to advance the testing and evaluation of open and interoperable network infrastructure in the U.S. WIF, which is managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), issued the first Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), aimed to expand testing and interoperability of network elements from various technology providers and ultimately remove barriers to adoption.

Samsung extends our congratulations to the NTIA on the newly announced grants to support the testing and evaluation of Open RAN hardware and software as well as our customers on their awards. These grants mark an important step toward the federal government’s objective of fostering a vibrant and secure ecosystem of network technology that adheres to open and standardized interfaces in wireless networks.

Samsung’s commitment to Open RAN began many years ago with the industry’s initial efforts to define open interfaces between radio and baseband units. In 2018, we were named by Verizon as a partner in their 4G Open RAN program. With 5G, Samsung has developed an expansive commercial portfolio and a host of global network deployments leveraging O-RAN compliant hardware and software. Having deployed two of the largest Open RAN networks in the world here in the U.S., our commercial experience has been in part driven by our work to build the world’s most extensive Open RAN ecosystem.

Our commitment extends to participation in two consortiums that have been awarded funding in the first phase of the WIF program – one with DISH Wireless‘ Open RAN Center for Integration and Deployment (ORCID) and another with the Acceleration of Compatibility and Commercialization for Open RAN Deployments (ACCoRD) with AT&T and Verizon. These collaborations rigorously test individual and combined Open RAN components and pave the way for widespread adoption of open, interoperable, and standards-based radio access networks. Samsung is excited to work closely with our partners, conducting real-world trials that unlock crucial insights for scaling multi-vendor Open RAN. Furthermore, Samsung has unique experience deploying O-RAN compliant equipment in commercial networks, being the only major vendor that has deployed both greenfield and brownfield multi-vendor Open RAN virtualized networks in the U.S. and globally.

Samsung applauds the NTIA’s Open RAN grants, which represents a significant step towards open, standardized wireless networks. By leveraging our global Open RAN leadership and partnering with fellow innovators, these trials will help accelerate the testing and interworking of elements across the eco-system, and empower choice, flexibility, and secure supply chains for our network customers.

The NTIA’s leadership with this program will go a long way in unleashing the full possibilities of Open RAN, but success hinges upon the collaboration by network operators, technology providers, policymakers, and academia to deliver open, secure and high-performing networks. We look forward to leveraging our pioneering Open RAN leadership and working alongside other stakeholders to make end-to-end Open RAN a widespread reality.

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