Samsung Electronics became the latest network vendor to announce plans to launch 5G virtualised RAN kit, hailing a system due this quarter as providing operators with new open architecture options.

In a statement, the company said the software-based infrastructure matched the performance of its hardware-based systems while simplifying 5G network management.

It combines a virtualised central unit, available from the company since 2019, and a virtualised distributed unit which is currently the subject of field tests in North America.

Samsung noted “by replacing the dedicated baseband hardware used in a traditional RAN architecture with software elements on a general-purpose computing platform, mobile operators can scale 5G capacity and performance more easily, add new features quickly, and have flexibility to support multiple architectures.”

The vendor added it was already supporting commercial 5G with existing network equipment in South Korea, Japan and the US. It aims to rapidly expand its global footprint citing Europe, Canada and New Zealand as targets.

Samsung’s announcement comes hours after rival Nokia pledged to increase its support for open RAN architecture.

Nokia revealed a full suite of open interfaces would be supported in existing products in 2021. It announced a forthcoming cloud RAN platform last month.