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U.S. Cable Operators Gain New Mobile Service Opportunities and Data Offload Savings with Samsung's 5G Strand Solution

10/16/2023

By Rick Svensson, Senior Director, U.S. Cable Operators,
Networks Business, Samsung Electronics America

The cable industry has emerged as a formidable player in the mobile business, attracting millions of new customers—and shifting how certain customer segments consider their wireless service. Since they began pursuing strategies as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), U.S. cable operators have had a focused market approach, along with the patience to play the long game in optimizing their wireless offerings.

In preparation for enhancing their mobile offerings, the top three cable operators turned to Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) mid-band spectrum, investing a total of over $1.1 billion for Priority Access Licenses (PALs)1 in the 2020 FCC auction of the CBRS 3.5GHz band. The PALs enables them to operate more cost-efficiently in over 1,500 counties, covering nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population.

Now, after years of purchasing and selling different spectrum assets, cable operators have picked their moment to accelerate their wireless strategy by leveraging the latest 5G technologies to be deployed in an attractive mid-band spectrum.

Cable operators’ plans are paying off as they discover that leveraging 5G technologies will provide them key benefits, including: MVNO offload savings, the ability to enhance ‘triple-play’ bundles with home internet, TV, and mobile services, and the opportunity to improve customer experiences.

Samsung’s 5G CBRS Strand Small Cell Goes Commercial

Samsung is perfectly positioned to help cable operators execute on their wireless strategy and achieve these new benefits. Central to this is the company’s 5G CBRS Strand Small Cell solution, a compact, integrated and lightweight product that was announced last year, which provides cable operators a simple way to rapidly deploy their own data-offload capability using CBRS spectrum and their existing cable facilities. After extensive lab and field testing with multiple customers, it is now commercially available, and we are also proud to announce that this product is live in commercial networks with our first 5G Strand Small Cell customer, Comcast.

Designed to hang from existing cable lines, Samsung’s plug-and-play small cell solution is instantly recognized by the network once installed, and efficiently draws power and internet connectivity from the lines it’s hung from. This makes it easy and cost-effective for U.S. cable operators to provide mobile 5G coverage where customers need it most.

Notably, the 5G Strand Small Cell uses Samsung’s proven macro network chipset to enable features parity with the macro environment; it is essentially a miniature version of a standalone full blown 5G cell site with a fully integrated DOCSIS cable modem—a welcome solution to cable operators.

Recently, Samsung completed field testing and has delivered 5G Strand Small Cell products to Comcast for commercial deployment. This follows last year’s announcement of the two companies’ collaboration to enhance 5G connectivity for Comcast’s service areas by using Samsung’s 5G RAN solution consisting of the 5G Strand Small Cell, as well as other CBRS radios, with associated baseband units. Samsung’s 5G solution supports Comcast’s goal of targeted offloading of data traffic to its own CBRS network—significantly reducing costs and generating additional revenue.

Last month, Tom Nagel, Senior Vice President, Wireless Strategy at Comcast, shared in a blog that “our 5G network field tests with CBRS spectrum have exceeded our expectations,” adding that “customers in Philadelphia will start connecting to our new 5G network for the first time.”

Samsung’s 5G Strand Small Cell has the ability to provide coverage for multiple CBRS carriers on non-contiguous spectrum using up to 80MHz. It also has the capability to support two sectors to deliver high capacity across a wide wireless coverage area.

Conclusion

With recent developments, the cable industry has now firmly established itself as a key player in the mobile industry, and cable operators are poised for continued success in this space. Samsung continues to bring new 5G innovations to the market, including the solutions necessary for cable companies to enhance their wireless capabilities, deliver new services to customers, and improve their bottom line.

[1] Source: FCC.gov
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