Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies and Australia’s Telstra are planning to conduct interoperability testing and an over-the-air field trial based on the expected 5G New Radio (NR) specifications being developed by 3GPP, which will form the basis of the global standards.
The aim is to enable timely commercial network launches based on 3GPP standard compliant 5G NR infrastructure and devices using target 5G spectrum bands. It is expected 3GPP will complete the first release of the official specifications, as part of Release 15.
The trial will highlight new 5G NR technologies that utilize wide bandwidths available at higher frequency bands to increase network capacity and to provide up to multi-gigabit per second data rates. The millimeter Wave (mmWave) and mid-band spectrum technologies being trialed will be critical to meeting the increasing connectivity requirements for emerging consumer mobile broadband experiences, such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and connected cloud services.
"This development is a big step forward in 5G readiness," said Mike Wright, group managing director networks, Telstra. "In addition to the ongoing growth in data consumption, customers are starting to use applications that use more data (e.g. virtual reality) and also require lower latency, for example critical industrial and medical applications such as remote surgery."
"This collaboration between Telstra, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies will help ensure 5G is ready for the Australian environment, including making sure it is able to be scaled up for our vast distance and sparse population, as well as ensuring our customers will be among the first in the world to enjoy the benefits of 5G."
Ulf Ewaldsson, senior vice president and chief strategy and technology officer, Ericsson, says, "We have a long history of driving mobile innovation together with Qualcomm Technologies and Telstra. This important 5G standard-based trial collaboration will demonstrate compliance to 3GPP and support the accelerated commercialization of the global 3GPP 5G standard in Australia. By working with leading operators and ecosystem players in 5G, together we can enable global scale and drive the industry in one common direction."
The trial will employ 3GPP 5G NR technologies such as Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques to deliver robust and sustained mobile broadband communications at the higher frequency bands, including non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments and device mobility.
It will also make use of scalable OFDM-based waveforms and a new flexible framework design that are expected to be part of the 5G NR specifications. The trials are expected to yield valuable insight into the unique challenges of integrating mmWave technologies into mobile networks and devices.
"We've had longstanding success with Telstra and Ericsson with early 4G and 3G testing and deployments, so we are pleased to be continuing that work to accelerate the path to 5G," said Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
"5G NR trials are essential to ensure a unified global 5G standard through 3GPP, as well as timely commercial deployments of 5G NR networks. Telstra brings a unique environment to test new mobile technologies and our long history of innovation allows us to be in the forefront of the 5G wireless revolution."
The trial will utilize 5G system solutions and devices from Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies to demonstrate real world scenarios across a broad set of use cases and deployment situations.
The 3GPP 5G NR standard-based interoperability testing and trial will start in the second half of 2017, and will follow decisions of Release 15 - the global 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum bands. Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies have also announced trial plans in the US and Korea, to support operation in millimeter Wave (mmWave) and mid-band spectrum, accelerating commercial deployments in the 28GHz, 39GHz and sub-6GHz bands.