Under the new alliance, NEC and Samsung firms will combine their expertise in 5G and IT solutions

NEC and Samsung Electronics have announced a partnership with the main aim of strengthening their next-generation business portfolio, including 5G.

Under the new partnership, NEC and Samsung will merge both firms’ expertise in 5G and IT solutions. Their collaboration will also “provide mobile carriers with flexible 5G solutions that are localized for each region with customized services to meet mobile carriers’ demands efficiently,” the two partners said.

“5G development based on standardization will help to accelerate business transformation throughout global markets,” said Atsuo Kawamura, EVP and president of the Network Services Business Unit at NEC. “As 5G commercialization is just around the corner, we are confident that the partnership with Samsung will continue to solidify our stance as a 5G leader.”

“5G will unlock the potentials, create new values and push the limits of today’s technology,” said Youngky Kim, president and head of networks business at Samsung Electronics. “We are excited to announce our joint efforts with NEC to boost 5G end-to-end solution portfolio for the best user experience.”

Samsung has supported Verizon’s 5G service in the U.S. and South Korean carrier SK Telecom recently selected the company for the provision of 5G solutions, including a 3GPP Release 15-compliant core and Radio Access Network for 5G New Radio.

SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics said they will begin 5G commercial deployments in October 2018 using the 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture. NSA uses a legacy 4G LTE network for mobility control, and transmits gigabit-speed data traffic through both 4G and 5G networks. Since 2014, the two companies have been jointly exploring and studying the potential of 5G to create ideal commercial scenarios using both 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz. In June 2017, the companies carried out an interworking of 4G LTE and 5G NR utilizing 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum.

Last week, Samsung Electronics announced the acquisition of Spanish artificial intelligence-based network and service analytics startup Zhilabs, aiming to enhance its 5G capabilities. The acquisition will allow the Asian company to foster its 5G offerings related to automation and network analytics.

As it announced the acquisition, Samsung highlighted its belief that AI-based automation will play a central role in the introduction of new services in the 5G era, such as industrial internet of things and connected cars, as carriers will require automated solutions and network analytics beyond what was possible in previous generations.

Meanwhile, NEC reached an agreement in May this year with compatriot telco NTT DoCoMo to provide control units for 5G base station equipment aiming for the commercialization of 5G services. Under the agreement, NEC will achieve 5G compatibility through software upgrades and a minimal replacement of hardware to maximize the use of existing high-density base station equipment.

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