Amid a sea of CES gadgets, Samsung’s network team boasts 5G

Samsung 5G
Samsung's infrastructure profile is rising in the U.S. with 5G wins. (Monica Alleven/Fierce Wireless)

LAS VEGAS—CES isn’t exactly known for wireless infrastructure. Vendors are largely saving their announcements for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February, where wireless gear is the name of the game.

But that didn’t stop Samsung’s networks team from raising the 5G profile at this year’s CES, blasting “5G” in brights lights to the throngs of visitors checking out the latest TVs, gadgets and virtual assistants at its booth.

“Our message is really around how networks is an important component of Samsung’s vision,” said Alok Shah, vice president of networks strategy at Samsung Electronics America. “We really think we’re well positioned to bring 5G use cases and applications to market.” 

Mobile World Congress 2019

Attend the 2-Day Executive 5G Panel Series

FierceWireless is returning to Barcelona, Spain, during Mobile World Congress 2019 with a two-day Executive 5G Panel Series at the Fira Congress Hotel, conveniently located across the street from the MWC Convention Center. The panel events will take place on Feb. 25-26 and will cover 5G and The Fixed Wireless Access Opportunity, Taking 5G Indoors, and Making 5G Ubiquitous. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and hear from 5G leaders including Verizon, Vodafone, Orange, Sprint, NTT Docomo, Boingo Wireless, Qualcomm, and more over the course of two days.

Secure your spot at the event today! Now is your chance to join fellow industry professionals for networking and education. Registration information and the schedule can be found on the website here.

Samsung’s profile in wireless infrastructure is rising in the U.S. thanks to big wins with carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. But the Korean company, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, actually has been involved in networks for the past 40 years.

Here in the U.S., it partnered with Sprint starting in the 2011-12 time frame on CDMA LTE macro gear, and prior to that, it won femtocell business with both Sprint and Verizon. It remains an LTE femtocell provider to Verizon.

RELATED: AT&T 5G deal marks a first for Samsung in U.S.

On the device side, Samsung already has announced forthcoming 5G smartphones for both Verizon and AT&T.

Overall, 5G has come much faster than expected, from standardization to implementation and now commercialization, Shah told FierceWirelessTech. And although Samsung believes Verizon’s Home service constitutes a true 5G offering—it uses new spectrum, new equipment and new fundamental technologies like beamforming, all of which Samsung has been a part of—he’s not ready to take the bait when a reporter asks about the debate around 5G that heated up this week.

“I think everybody has a different definition for what 5G is, but … if you’re talking about introducing new equipment and new spectrum bands into the market,” that qualifies as 5G, he said.

“We’re excited to see stuff get out there. We really think that you’ve got to have that platform in place and then people can innovate on top of it with devices or use cases or whatever,” he said. “The work the operators are doing to drive 5G systems into the market, whether it’s here, in Korea or Japan, China or India—everywhere—is really beneficial because that’s the starting point for the ecosystem.” 

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