Samsung has its eyes on a major expansion of its wireless infrastructure business, taking advantage of early success in US and fixed wireless contracts, as well as the uncertainty over the status of Huawei and ZTE in some countries’ 5G plans.
Most of its progress so far, however, has been confined to the USA and South Korea, and it was actually removed from Three UK’s next generation network in favor of Huawei. So it has received a welcome boost from a deal with Canadian operator Videotron, which will buy LTE-Advanced and 5G RAN equipment from the Korean vendor.
This is Samsung’s first networking win in Canada. As of the end of September 2019, Videotron was serving nearly 1.3m mobile subscribers, and plans to launch
commercial LTE-A and 5G services in late 2020.
From early next year, Samsung will deliver LTE-A systems across the provinces of Quebec and Ottawa, including Massive MIMO antenna arrays and dual-band base stations. Then 5G solutions in the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands will be added where required for extra capacity or new services.
Samsung claims its 5G Massive MIMO Unit (MMU) base stations are a key differentiator because they are the smallest and lightest available, so can be installed on existing cell sites without adding significant weight (and therefore cost), and also have a diversity of site types which can be supported for 5G expansion in future.
Videotron CEO Jean-François Pruneau said in a statement: “Our choice of Samsung as the supplier is not a coincidence, we are convinced that they represent the best option to achieve this objective.”