Samsung announced this week that it is preparing to introduce a virtualized radio access network (vRAN) architecture for 2G based on GSM.
Once 2G vRAN is in the field, operators can leverage our solution for a seamless migration path from a complex mix of 2G, 4G, and 5G to a simple, unified global network architecture. Samsung will introduce its 2G vRAN solution at the end of 2022, start trials in the second half of 2022, and start delivering 2G vRAN solutions (including software and radio hardware) to global operators in 2023, including Tier 1 operators in Europe.
Launched in the 1990s, 2G is still one of the most successful network technologies, representing a common layer of coverage and providing reliable services. In some parts of the world, 2G is considered one of the most important network technologies for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, the Internet of Small Things (IOST) – which supports miniaturized components for devices, including portable devices – and voice communications for roaming services. While most carriers are phasing out 2G and 3G, some have retained 2G GSM, largely to support legacy M2M and IoT deployments that are used for supply chain logistics, vehicle tracking and smart meters. For example, 2G powered vehicle tracking allows car rental companies to track the locations and movements of vehicles within their fleet, using an installed GPS device. Additionally, there are still mobile subscribers who depend on 2G for voice communications, especially in rural or remote areas of Europe.
Moreover, in other parts of the world, mainly developing countries, the lack of physical infrastructure has limited the reach of 4G and 5G services. With many subscribers still dependent on a 2G network, it is important to bridge this digital divide by ensuring that those using a previous generation network are not left behind.
While 2G GSM is still the backbone of voice and IoT services in some parts of the world, and 4G is widely used for data services, 3G is fading relatively faster. Considering market demands, Samsung is focusing its development efforts in 2G and 4G virtualization.