Verizon Wireless and Samsung Electronics have completed an end-to-end fully virtualised 5G data session over C-band (3.7GHz-3.98GHz) spectrum in a live network environment. The new milestone was reached as Verizon prepares for its upcoming C-band ‘5G Ultra Wideband’ expansion. The trials were conducted over Verizon’s network in Texas, Connecticut and Massachusetts using C-band Special Temporary Authority (STA) permits granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In terms of technology, the tests used Samsung’s fully virtualised RAN (vRAN) solution built on its own software stack and C-band 64T64R Massive MIMO radio, in coordination with Verizon’s virtualised core. Verizon notes that the trials ‘achieved speeds commensurate with traditional hardware-based equipment’.
Going forward, Verizon says it expects to start using its C-band spectrum in the first quarter of 2022, with the new 5G network initially going live in 46 markets and serving around 100 million people. By 2023, coverage is expected to increase to more than 175 million people, ultimately rising to 250 million people by 2024, when the remaining C-band spectrum is cleared.