Samsung Electronics Co. announced on Wednesday it has acquired Barcelona-based network analysis firm Zhilabs to enhance its 5G capabilities. The South Korean conglomerate did not disclose the terms of the deal, which marks its first announced acquisition in new technologies since Samsung Group pledged in August a $22.23 billion investment over the next three years in growth areas such as artificial intelligence, 5G, electronic components for future cars, and biopharmaceuticals.

Founded in 2008, Zhilabs’ flagship product is Customair, formerly known as FlowSight, which helps carriers drill down into network performance experience at the individual subscriber level. It provides insights into messaging (SMS and MMS), data (connectivity, streaming, and apps), roaming, among other aspects of their service.

Zhilabs’ products are used by companies including HP, Vodafone, and Telefonica to analyze and test network performance in real-time.  Its solutions will allow Samsung to launch products for IoT connected devices and smart cars, and 5G mobile services that require fast data crunching.

Samsung’s 5G Push

Samsung has been aggressively working with numerous carriers around the world to become a dominant 5G player. In July, Samsung unveiled its 5G NR radio equipment supporting 3.5GHz and 28GHz spectrum, to be used by Korean and global telecos.

To demonstrate its 5G capabilities, it has built a ‘5G City’ within Samsung’s ‘Digital City’ in Suwon, Korea. The 5G City consists of a 5G Stadium, a 5G Connectivity Node and a 5G Kiosk. At the 5G Stadium, large crowds can stream HD videos simultaneously using MIMO (multiple input multiple output) technology. The 5G Connectivity Node is all about efficient and seamless management of future cities. Digital signages, CCTVs, and visual sensors are connected through 5G to improve traffic control, public safety, etc. The 5G Kiosk brings to the world hotspots of the future that will offer incredible download speeds. The speeds range anywhere between 1-3Gbps, and can help in large downloads while on the move. In addition, the 5G Kiosk will assist in map and software updates for autonomous vehicles.

Samsung Electronics Zhilabs

Samsung Digital City in Suwon, South Korea

SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, recently chose Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung as its preferred bidders. 5G will arrive in South Korea in December, with commercialization expected in March 2019.

To expand its AI capability, Samsung will be adding 1,000 researchers across its global AI centers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Russia and South Korea.

Samsung Electronics Co. is currently the world’s largest smartphone-maker. It also boasts a very strong semiconductor business that supplies chips to companies such as Apple.

Fully owned by Samsung, Zhilabs will continue to operate independently under its own management.