U.S. operators partnering with Samsung on 5G deployments

In Q2 of this year Samsung’s networks business had around 11% market share as it relates to global LTE deployments, Youngky Kim, head of Samsung Networks, said a the recent D.Live conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal. With 5G deployments set to ramp in 2019 and beyond, he said the goal is to capture 20% market share by 2020.

If activity from the U.S. market is any indication, Samsung may be well-positioned to meet that goal. Samsung is confirmed as a primary vendor for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint’s 5G deployment plans, and the company is also engaged with T-Mobile US on testing 5G equipment.

For Verizon, Samsung is provided virtual RAN gear as well as home and outdoor routers. AT&T also announced Samsung as one of its 5G vendors, along with Ericsson and Nokia, and also said Samsung would supply CBRS gear. For Sprint, Samsung is supplying massive MIMO antennas the carrier is using in a split-mode that allows simultaneously support for LTE and 5G.

AI needs 5G

The diversity of 5G use cases commands an equally diverse set of connectivity requirements that are moving operators toward network automation processes.. As such, infrastructure vendors are increasingly talking up the importance of artificial intelligence in the same breath with 5G.

Earlier this year, Samsung announced it would invest more than $22 billion over the next three years to develop technologies, including 5G, AI, automotive electronics components, biopharmaceuticals, semiconductors and device displays.

Kim described 5G as the “oxygen” AI needs. “AI needs a lot of data to respond to you. This amount of data can be provided by 5G, not 4G.”

Further aspects of the $22 billion investment include an expansion of Samsung’s “venture incubation program,” expansion of its pool of AI researchers, working with the Korean government to set up software training and education centers, increased supplier support initiatives, and scale up its smart factory program, according to the company.


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