KDDI starts commercial deployment of 5G Open vRAN sites in Japan in collaboration with Samsung Electronics and Fujitsu Limited

Tokyo, January 24, 2023 - KDDI CORPORATION (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President and Representative Director: Makoto Takahashi; hereinafter KDDI) announced that, in cooperation with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Suwon, South Korea, President and Head of Networks Business: Woojune Kim, hereinafter Samsung) and Fujitsu Limited (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, Representative Director: Takahito Tokita; hereinafter Fujitsu), it initiated the commercial deployment of O-RAN [Jump to the applicable section1] compliant 5G Open Virtual Radio Access Network (hereinafter Open vRAN) sites in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, on January 19, 2023.

The expansion of 5G services promises a variety of exciting new applications that offer the possibility of a more connected world, realized through unprecedented speeds achieved with leading edge communication technologies. The sudden increase of different network-connected devices is also expected to lead to a rapid increase in communication volume, however, creating strain for communications networks. Building advanced systems that can handle this increase in traffic, as well as achieving faster deployment and lower costs for network technologies represent an urgent priority for vendors working to build 5G network infrastructure. To meet these growing demands, KDDI has been developing O-RAN compliant 5G Open vRAN sites using Samsung's virtualized solutions. By offering an open, wireless system, KDDI aims to contribute to the expansion of equipment procurement options and the construction of high-performance, cost-effective infrastructure.

For the new sites, KDDI updated the software of an O-RAN compliant 5G Open vRAN site [Jump to the applicable section2] KDDI successfully turned on in February 2022. Samsung's 5G virtualized CU (vCU) and virtualized DU (vDU) and Fujitsu's radio units (MMU: Massive MIMO Units) are interconnected with an open interface. Wireless controllers are equipped with fully-virtualized RAN software on general-purpose servers to realize network functions, while wireless devices are both compact and lightweight and consume less power by utilizing high-efficiency, wide-band power amplification technology. Core functions are implemented as software to enable flexible and efficient management of network resources. KDDI further updated the software of the new sites to support the 5G NSA solution connected to existing 4G sites and functions that were realized in conventional sites using dedicated equipment including Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) [Jump to the applicable section3]. As a result, customers with existing 5G NSA smartphones will be able to enjoy the same comfortable communication as before. Moreover, this is the world's first commercial MU-MIMO implementation with O-RAN compliant multivendor interoperability [Jump to the applicable section4].

In addition, KDDI constructed a Zero Touch Provisioning system to automate configuration tasks when the base stations start operating. The system automates the setup of servers and virtualized platforms from different vendors and contributes to rapid base station deployment nationwide, including in rural areas. Based on the knowledge gained from its operation in Osaka City, the parties aim to expand the scope of application of this system in 2024 to realize full-scale deployment of Open vRAN sites to provide customers with an even faster and more comfortable communication environment.

Moving forward, KDDI, Samsung and Fujitsu will continue to develop solutions for Open vRAN in Japan and promote nationwide deployment of 5G SA [Jump to the applicable section5] services for KDDI to provide customers with new experiences and contribute to business development.

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