Telus and Samsung build virtual and open RAN in Canada

  • February 21, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

Telus is working with Samsung Electronics to build Canada’s first commercial virtualised and open radio access network (RAN).

This technology offers enhanced performance, flexibility, energy efficiency and automation. The companies are expanding their collaboration from greenfield (new builds) to brownfield (existing infrastructure) deployments.

Following Telus’ selection of Samsung as its 5G network vendor in 2020, this approach to infrastructure deployment embodies the essence of collaboration, bringing together manufacturers and providers to create a modular wireless network. It is also one of the first truly virtualised Open RAN deployments within a complex, brownfield network environment.

With an Open RAN, Telus can use components from different manufacturers that best meet its needs, while a virtualised radio access network (vRAN) allows the use of software instead of hardware. This provides Telus with faster access to the latest technologies as they become available, helping enhance customer experiences and fuel network innovation, while increasing opportunities for equipment vendors.

“This is a very exciting milestone for Telus and the industry overall, as we now have the most flexible way to offer a diversified set of services to Canadians, unlocking new levels of mobile experiences,” said Nazim Benhadid, chief technology officer at Telus. “We are proud to be the first Canadian telecommunications company to integrate this cutting-edge technology, together with Samsung and our other partners.”

The companies have tested both the vRAN and Open RAN rollout in select Canadian markets with good results, validating the telco-grade performance and reliability of multi-vendor Open RAN technology, powered by Samsung’s vRAN offerings. Commercial deployment will begin in the first half of this year and a large-scale network rollout is expected to begin mid-2024.

“Innovation is not a result, but a continuous process that transforms our daily lives,” said Junehee Lee, executive vice president at South Korean firm Samsung Electronics ( “Telus and Samsung have been spearheading a meaningful transformation in mobile communications and we look forward to continuing to unleash the full benefits of software-centric innovation, by advancing our industry-leading vRAN and Open RAN.”

For this expanded collaboration, Samsung will deliver its vRAN software and Open RAN compliant options, including its 64T64R massive MIMO radios, as well as the support for third-party radio integration. Samsung’s products include its latest vRAN 3.0 for 4G and 5G, which features enhanced capabilities for improved energy savings, optimised performance and intelligent automation via Samsung’s SMO service management and orchestration. The AI-based SMO should help Telus accelerate vRAN rollouts at scale by enabling automated deployment of thousands of network sites simultaneously. It will also provide Telus with capabilities for end-to-end automation for multi-party options, enabling easier deployment, operation and optimisation of the network.

Cloud infrastructure will be provided by Wind River (, tapping the company’s experience in real-time operating systems and cloud-native, distributed edge platforms. Additionally, Hewlett Packard Enterprise ( will deliver ProLiant DL110 Gen11 servers featuring fourth-generation Intel Xeon scalable processor with Intel vRAN Boost, that are workload optimised for Open RAN while being open and flexible, providing the foundation for a distributed unit.

“VRAN and Open RAN remain at the forefront of network transformation, with Samsung continuing to demonstrate leadership in proving virtualised Open RAN’s ability to deliver high performance and efficiency in commercial 5G networks,” said Stefan Pongratz, vice president and analyst at the Dell’Oro ( group. “Introducing vRAN and Open RAN into the Canadian market with Telus represents another formidable step in the re-shaping of the RAN for long-term advantage.”

Telus ( is a communications technology company with more than $18bn in annual revenue and over 18 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security. It operates in 32 countries.