KDDI turns on world’s first 5G Standalone Open RAN site powered by vRAN

KDDI, Samsung and Fujitsu announced that they have turned on the world’s first 5G Standalone Open RAN site powered by virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) in Kawasaki, Kanagawa in February 2022, completing the transmission of live 5G traffic.
KDDI AU store Japan
This is the first commercial deployment using 5G SA with Open RAN and vRAN.

KDDI had Capex of 70.5 billion yen during the third quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2022.

KDDI used O-RAN compliant solutions, including Samsung’s 5G virtualized CU (vCU) and virtualized DU (vDU) as well as Fujitsu’s Massive MIMO radio units for the deployment of this first site.

Virtualization and O-RAN technology replaces dedicated hardware with software elements that can run on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. This brings flexibility and agility to KDDI’s network, allowing the operator to offer enhanced mobile services to its users. This architecture will deliver reliability, while accelerating deployment of Open RAN throughout Japan, including in rural areas.

KDDI, along with Samsung and Fujitsu, will deploy this Open RAN in some parts of Japan and continue its deployment and development, embracing openness and virtualization in KDDI’s commercial network.

Open RAN site leverages virtualized RAN software, provided by Samsung, that runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. Furthermore, by pursuing an open network approach between radio units and baseband unit, KDDI used Samsung’s baseband and Fujitsu’s Massive MIMO Units, which are connected with an open interface.

Virtualized 5G RAN software can be swiftly deployed using existing hardware infrastructure, which brings greater flexibility in deployment. New 5G SA technologies — such as network slicing, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and others — powered by 5G vRAN, will deliver superior performance, higher speeds and lower latency, allowing KDDI users to experience a range of new next-generation services and immersive applications.

The virtualized network allows the use of general-purpose hardware (COTS servers) across the country, which will greatly increase deployment efficiencies. Additionally, by leveraging system automation, fully-virtualized RAN software can reduce deployment time, enabling swift nationwide expansion, including rural areas.

“Together with Samsung and Fujitsu, we developed and turned on the world’s first commercial 5G SA Open RAN site powered by vRAN,” Kazuyuki Yoshimura, Chief Technology Officer, KDDI, said in a news statement.

“Samsung stands out for its leadership in 5G vRAN and Open RAN with wide-scale commercial deployment experiences across the globe. While KDDI and Samsung are at the forefront of network innovation, we look forward to expanding our collaboration towards 5G SA, to bring compelling 5G services to users,” Woojune Kim, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Sales & Marketing, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, said.

“The Open RAN-based ecosystem offers exciting possibilities and this latest milestone with KDDI and Samsung demonstrates the innovative potential of next-generation mobile services with Massive MIMO Units,” Shingo Mizuno, Corporate Executive Officer and Vice Head of System Platform Business (In charge of Network Business), Fujitsu, said.