TPG Telecom opened an innovation laboratory in Sydney to give equipment suppliers a single site to trial emerging 5G technologies, with Samsung the first to use the facility to test its virtualised RAN (vRAN) on 26GHz spectrum.

The lab comprises a data centre and rooftop mobile site. It will be used for benchmarking and establishing the potential return on investment of different vendors’ radio technologies through trials.

GM for Mobile and Fixed Networks Barry Kezik said the facility will enable TPG Telecom to “evaluate innovations in 5G network infrastructure to deliver better customer experience with lower cost” and unlock the technology’s “high throughput and ultra-low latency capabilities for industry verticals”.

For the vRAN trial, the operator will use Samsung’s integrated mmWave equipment, which combines baseband, radio and antenna units in a single form-factor, to deliver mobile and fixed wireless services.

TPG Telecom CEO Inaki Berroeta said deploying mmWave spectrum on its 5G network together with vRAN allows it “to develop exciting 5G use cases” for industry verticals and enable the delivery of even faster speeds and greater capacity”.

The operator acquired 26GHz spectrum for AUD108.2 million ($81.1 million) in an auction in April.