Displaying items by tag: 5G New Radio

Australian telco to commence 5G roll out in 2019

Written on Sunday, 11 February 2018 09:00

Australian telecom provider Optus has announced its intention to commence the roll out of 5G technology in Australia by early 2019 with a fixed wireless product in key metro areas. This announcement follows the launch of a successful outdoor trial for 5G New Radio, which showed 2Gbps download speeds using a potential device for a fixed wireless service in the home and business.

“People have been hearing about 5G for some time, and there is pent up expectation, but to date a lot of the talk has been highly theoretical,” said Optus Managing Director of Networks Dennis Wong.

“By successfully testing commercial grade customer equipment, we’re able to pave the way for Optus to begin testing 5G technologies from a consumer perspective,” he added. “We continue to be involved in the fine tuning of the customer equipment with our partner – Huawei, to ensure that the equipment meets the standards as they are being endorsed.”

Throughout the trial, both C-band and mmWave were incorporated as these are considered to be global pioneer bands for 5G, delivering the low latency and extreme speeds associated with 5G. C-band is within the same spectrum range of Optus’ 3.5GHz, which has been earmarked for 5G deployment.

“As we continue to develop Optus 5G technologies and prepare for deployment in 2019, it is also important to ensure people understand the capabilities it can offer, and how it is able to benefit their day-to-day lives” added Mr. Wong.

During the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Optus will be hosting a 5G technology showcase, allowing visitors the ability to experience what 5G will have to offer.  From being able to play sports real-time in virtual reality; to competing against machines in games, and to remotely controlling robots’ movements these use cases will provide a small glimpse into the capabilities of 5G and how it differs from current technologies.

Optus has been working towards the delivery of 5G technology since 2016, focusing on taking key technological evolutionary steps and working with global partners to ensure the correct foundations have been put in place for eventual roll out.

Throughout 2017, Optus achieved several key milestones, including the launch of 4.5G technology and a world-first trial of 3CC CA Massive MIMO technologies.

Additionally, Optus secured a variety of new metropolitan licenses for its customers in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz spectrum bands during recent Spectrum Auctions, further strengthening its spectrum holdings in the relevant fields for 5G technologies.

“Now 3GPP has finalized most parts of the world-wide standardization of 5G technologies, Optus can increase momentum and throughout 2018, Optus is going to lead the Australian market in the development and deployment of pre-5G and 5G technologies,” said Mr. Wong.

Published in Telecom Operators

Huawei and Deutsche Telekom achieve 5G interoperability

Written on Sunday, 04 February 2018 09:36

German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Huawei, together with Intel, announced they have collaborated to achieve the world's first 5G interoperability and development testing (IODT) based on the 3GPP R15 Standard with a commercial base station.

This successful test, based on Huawei's 5G commercial base station and Intel's third generation 5G NR Mobile Trial Platform (MTP), is a critical step towards the full commercial launch of Huawei and Intel solutions supporting millions of devices in 2019.

Deutsche Telekom and Huawei began cooperation on 5G-network research in 2015 and committed to accelerating the development of the ecosystem. With the benefit of Intel's 5G NR platforms, the group realized successful IODT tests taking crucial joint steps towards 5G industry maturity.

Using Huawei's commercial NR base station and the Intel 5G NR Mobile Trial Platform, the three parties have jointly verified the fundamentals of the new 5G 3GPP NR standard, including new synchronization, coding, frame structure, and numerology components underlying the interconnection of the NR-compliant terminal and network.

The test configuration used by Deutsche Telekom, Huawei and Intel is based on the largest C-band cell bandwidth defined by the 5G NR standard. It also incorporates the latest Massive MIMO multi-antenna and beamforming technology enabled by the standard framework.

“After delivering leading contributions to the 3GPP’s work on 5G standards, Deutsche Telekom, Huawei and Intel moved swiftly to jointly verify implementation progress through standards-based interoperability testing,” said Arash Ashouriha, Senior Vice President Technology Innovation of Deutsche Telekom. “The success of our test is a significant step on the path to 5G ecosystem maturity and early 5G commercialization.”

Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei’s 5G product line, said the success of this testing “shows that Huawei and all parties have devoted themselves deeply to the new NR standard. As the standard continues to be updated, Huawei will continue to work with all parties to step up interoperability test and promote the 5G industry maturity process, and to welcome the arrival of the entire industry digitization.”

The first 5G NR standard was successfully completed on December 21, 2017, at the 3GPP TSG RAN meeting in Lisbon, Portugal. All industry partners including operators, equipment vendors and terminal chipset vendors reached agreement to work together to accelerate the 5G NR standard process, and to facilitate the 5G global industrialization process.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Japan’s largest telco gears up for 2020 5G launch

Written on Thursday, 25 January 2018 11:06

Japan’s largest mobile operator, NTT DOCOMO, has signed an agreement with Nokia to supply 5G baseband products for aiming to deploy in a 5G mobile network planned to be in commercial service by 2020.

"We have been collaborating with partners such as Nokia on various 5G technology and use case trials since 2014,” said Hiroshi Nakamura, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, NTT DOCOMO. “With this agreement with Nokia, we are now proceeding to the next step to launch 5G mobile services by 2020, and accelerate co-creation of new services and businesses with vertical industry partners."

Nokia will support the telco’s commercial 5G operation in Japan by further enhancing existing baseband units and integrating its 5G New Radio (5G NR)-based AirScale hardware in the network, which will provide NTT DOCOMO's mobile customers with a unique experience fueled by 5G's extreme high speed, superior capacity and ultra-low latency.

With NTT DOCOMO looking to get its 5G commercial service by 2020, Nokia's solution will provide a natural evolution to existing 4G/LTE deployments and also successful integration into the existing operational environment.

"The agreement with NTT DOCOMO is a major milestone in bringing 5G to commercial reality, especially in a country with a long and proud history of technological achievements and early technology adoption,” said Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “Together we have worked hard in recent months to commence preparations for NTT DOCOMO's eventual launch of its operational 5G service by 2020, which we have now set in motion by this very exciting announcement today."

Nokia has enjoyed a long-term working relationship with Japan's largest operator that has produced supply agreements for 3G and 4G/LTE networking technology. The two companies have also worked closely together in trials of 5G technologies, and now agree on supply of Nokia's 5G BBUs to be able to do centralized management for 5G RRHs (remote radio heads) for aiming to deploy in 5G network.

This is aligned with NTT DOCOMO's 5G direction, which is fully utilizing existing C-RAN architecture for 5G. Based on the agreement, Nokia will support NTT DOCOMO in the evolution of its network from 4G/LTE to 5G, providing technology based on the new 3GPP-compliant 5G NR standard, the first stage of which was published shortly before the end of 2017.

Published in Telecom Operators

Deutsche Telekom and Huawei go live with 5G connection

Written on Monday, 18 September 2017 12:14

Deutsche Telekom, in collaboration with Huawei, went live with Europe’s first 5G connection on Sept. 14, based on the latest 3GPP standard. The operator’s commercial 5G network in central Berlin provides over 2Gbps and low latency of 3 milliseconds over a 3.7GHz spectrum link.

Powered by Huawei user equipment using 3GPP specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), the deployment on commercial sites is the first in Europe and marks an important advancement in the global development of 5G.

5G NR will be “critical for meeting our customers’ ever-increasing connectivity requirements that are steadily growing with more and more network connections,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board Member for Technology and Innovation. The achievement, she said, demonstrates the feasibility of DT’s plans to deliver superior customer experience.

Taihua Deng, President Wireless Network, Huawei, said, “Huawei is confident that the partnership with Deutsche Telekom can fully prepare the commercial launch of 5G NR services in Europe by 2020 thanks to 3GPP standardization efforts.”

The implementation in a live real-world setting in central Berlin using Huawei equipment and software is based on pre-standard 5G that closely tracks the 3GPP global standard for so-called ‘Non-Standalone New Radio’.

With the Non-Standalone 5G NR mode for enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use-case, it is meant that the connection is anchored in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to boost data-rates and reduce latency. Therefore, 5G NR will be deployed with the evolution of 4G LTE as the baseline for wide-area broadband coverage. The specifications enabling that system will be complete by December 2017 as part of the first drop of 3GPP Release 15.

5G NR has characteristics that make it ideal to meet the sub 6GHz mid-band needs for 5G applications that will require mobility support, wide-area coverage, as well as multi-gigabit throughput speeds and millisecond low latency.

“With this real-world achievement, Deutsche Telekom is making its first important step towards a 5G network launch,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO at Deutsche Telekom. “When the standard is defined, we will trial it in 2018 to prepare the ground for a wider deployment of commercial sites and the offering of devices for the mass market as they become available.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Huawei and Deutsche Telekom achieve pre-standard 5G network

Written on Sunday, 10 September 2017 06:59

Germany’s leading telecom provider Deutsche Telekom went live with a 5G connection on its commercial network in central Berlin on Sept. 1, at over 2Gbps and a low latency of 3 milliseconds over a 3.7 gigahertz spectrum link. Powered by Huawei user equipment using 3GPP specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), the deployment on commercial sites is the first in Europe.

“5G New Radio will be critical for meeting our customers’ ever-increasing connectivity requirements that are steadily growing with more and more network connections,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board member for Technology and Innovation. “Our achievement demonstrates the feasibility of our plans to deliver a superior, new customer experience.”

Deutsche Telekom and Huawei are “long term partners” said Huimin Zhu, Vice President, 5G, Huawei, highlighting the success of the test using 5G NR equipment. The test marks the capabilities of 5G NR equipment to meet operators’ requirements for addressing new business opportunities for end users, he said.

“Huawei is confident that the partnership with Deutsche Telekom can fully prepare the commercial launch of 5G NR services in Europe by 2020 thanks to 3GPP standardization efforts,” said Zhu.

The implementation in a live real-world setting in central Berlin using Huawei equipment and software is based on pre-standard 5G that closely tracks the 3GPP global standard for so-called ‘Non-Standalone New Radio’, Zhu explained.

“With the Non-Standalone 5G NR mode for the enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use-case, it is meant that the connection is anchored in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to boost data-rates and reduce latency,” Zhu said. “Therefore, 5G new radio will be deployed with the evolution of 4G LTE as the baseline for wide-area broadband coverage. The specifications enabling that system will be complete by December 2017 as part of the first drop of 3GPP Release 15.”

5G New Radio has characteristics that make it ideal to meet the sub 6Ghz mid-band needs for 5G applications that will require mobility support, wide-area coverage, as well as multi-gigabit throughput speeds and millisecond low latency.

“With this real-world achievement, Deutsche Telekom is making its first important step towards a 5G network launch,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, Chief Technology Officer at Deutsche Telekom. “When the standard is defined, we will trial it in 2018 to prepare the ground for a wider deployment of commercial sites and the offering of devices for the mass market as they become available.”

Published in Telecom Operators

To meet growing customer interest in 5G, Nokia is broadening its focus into multiple areas of early 5G mobility use cases, including enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency communications. Nokia will push for accelerated 3GPP industry standardization while building on early customer experiences with its Nokia 5G FIRST end-to-end solution, launched in February at Mobile World Congress.

With clear interest for 5G mobility applications already emerging from operators, notably in markets like the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea, Nokia will implement early 5G specifications, enhancing 5G FIRST with the 3GPP 5G Phase I protocol. This 5G NR (New Radio) air interface standard, which is due at the beginning of 2018, is designed to support a wide variety of 5G devices and services.

"There should be no doubt about the huge potential of 5G. Through 5G FIRST, Nokia is evolving its 5G strategy to drive the industry rapidly towards the adoption of standards-based commercial applications - as early as 2019,” said Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia.

“Doing so will require broad cross-industry support, and we call upon regulators and governments to free up and enable the use of spectrum at low-, mid- and high-frequency bands for trials. This will allow robust evaluation of 5G to take place, so that collectively, we can deliver one of the most important new technologies in history, one that will truly drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Rouanne added.

Nokia will continue to evolve and expand 5G FIRST as an end-to-end solution, designed to drive broader market adoption of 5G, via mobility and fixed applications, as well as testing multiple 5G use cases.

The company is building on extensive field experience already gained with Nokia 5G FIRST, which has generated valuable insights into areas such as: use of radio propagation in higher frequencies; massive MIMO and beamforming; integration with existing networks versus standalone implementations; the use of small cells in 5G deployments; and the importance of cloud native core and cloud RAN technologies.

These and many other of the key elements of 3GPP-based 5G implementation will enable Nokia to extend the scope of interoperability testing with a variety of devices. Nokia will also continue its application of leading-edge technologies, such as chipset and radio frequency innovations, in its end-to-end 5G strategy.  

Published in Internet of Things

5G subscriptions to surpass half a billion by 2022

Written on Tuesday, 27 June 2017 05:55

Full-fledged 5G is just around the corner, according to Ericsson’s latest June 2017 Mobility Report. The acceleration of 5G New Radio (NR) standardization will enable large-scale trials and deployments of 5G in 2019. Thus, the number of 5G subscriptions is forecast to exceed half a billion by the end of 2022.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations, known as the Organizational Partners, approved acceleration of the 5G NR standardization schedule in March 2017 by introducing an intermediate milestone for an early variant called Non-Standalone 5G NR. This will enable early 5G deployments, according to Ericsson’s Mobility report, and support the requirements for enhanced mobile broadband services.

Ericsson anticipates that early 5G deployments will occur in several markets in the coming years. In 2022, the number of 5G subscriptions is forecast to reach more than 500 million. However, 5G subscriptions will require a device capable of supporting 5G services and use cases, and that is connected to a 5G-enabled network.

ZTE was the first to unveil a 5G smartphone, called the Gigabit Phone, capable of 1Gbps download speeds. With 5G on the horizon, a 4GB, 6GB or even 10GB plan won’t be enough when you’re dealing with download speeds that approach 1Gbps. ZTE’s Gigabit Phone unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2017, although not available for retail, was intended to showcase 5G and the lighting-fast upload and download speeds that will come with it once the technology is rolled out.

ZTE’s Gigabit Phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Chipset Platform, which features an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. The solution combines wireless carrier aggregation with 4x4 MIMO antenna technology and 256-QAM modulation to achieve download speeds of up to 1Gpbs. These impressive speeds are no longer theoretical – they represent the future of 5th Generation mobile technology.

It’s debatable whether ZTE’s Gigabit Phone is a “true” 5G device. The company calls it “pre-5G” because it features technologies that will help provide a significant speed increase to bridge the gap during carriers’ transition from 4G to 5G networks. It’s similar to HSPA+, the 3G technology that US telecom operators AT&T and T-Mobile spent time marketing as 4G. To the end user, the technology behind 1Gbps download speeds won’t matter very much while he/she is live-streaming 360-degree panoramic video content.

Over time, 5G will enable a wide range of use cases for massive Internet of Things (IoT) and critical communication, Ericsson reports. For now, GSM/EDGE-only (EDGE is considered a pre-3G radio technology) still constitutes the largest category of mobile subscriptions. However, LTE (high speed wireless communication based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies) is anticipated to become the dominant mobile access technology in 2018, the report highlights, and will likely reach 5 billion subscriptions by the end of 2022. By that time, it’s forecast that the number of LTE subscriptions will be more than seven times the GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions.

In developing markets, GSM/EDGE will still account for a significant share of subscriptions, and across all regions, most 3G/4G subscriptions will still have access to GSM/EDGE as a fallback option, says the report. In addition, GSM/EDGE will continue to play an important role in IoT applications.

Ericsson forecasts that mobile broadband will account for more than 90 percent of all mobile subscriptions by 2022. It’s anticipated that by the end of that year there will be 9 billion mobile subscriptions. In addition, mobile broadband subscriptions will likely reach 8.3 billion, thereby accounting for more than 90 percent of all mobile subscriptions. The number of unique mobile subscribers, according to Ericsson, is estimated to reach 6.2 billion by the end of 2022.

Today, 90 percent of smartphone subscriptions are for 3G and 4G. Devices are more affordable than they once were which is driving increased smartphone adoption, Ericsson highlights. At the end of 2016, there were 2.9 billion smartphone subscriptions, the majority of which were 3G and 4G. Ericsson predicts that by 2022, the number of smartphone subscriptions will reach 6.7 billion, and almost all of these will be for mobile broadband.

Regional subscription outlook

Across all regions mobile subscriptions continue to grow, according to Ericsson’s report, fueled by a strong uptake in mobile broadband. Mobile subscriptions account for between 50 and 85 percent of all mobile subscriptions in 5 out of 6 regions in the world. For many people living in developing markets, their first experience of the internet is through mobile networks on a smartphone.

From the perspective of Africa and the Middle East, the penetration of mobile broadband is currently lower than in other regions, but the number of mobile subscriptions is expected to increase significantly. The driving factors behind this growth, the Ericsson report indicates, include a growing young population and more affordable smartphone options.

Interestingly, it is not Apple or Samsung – the current top players in smartphones – that dominates Africa’s fast-growing smartphone market. In fact, it is Transsion Holdings, an obscure Chinese manufacturer that won over African consumers. Transsion offered handsets with two SIM-card slots, after research showed that Africans were carrying additional cards to avoid making out-of-network calls to save money. In addition, Transsion optimized its cameras to better highlight dark skin tones.

According to a recent report by consultancy Deloitte, Middle East mobile operators are expected to invest US$50 billion in network infrastructure from 2017-2021, with particular focus on 5G networks. These investments are particularly timely as the region is scheduled to host key events such as the Expo 2020 in Dubai where millions of people will be using their mobiles to send and receive SMS, video content and social media.

Ericsson predicts that over the next few years, Africa and the Middle East will dramatically shift from a region with a majority of GSM-EDGE-only subscriptions, to a region where 80 percent of the subscriptions will be WCDMA/HSPA and LTE. However, GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions will still account for a significant share of subscriptions by 2022. In comparison, WCDMA/HSPA and LTE already account for around 65 percent of all mobile subscriptions in South America, which is expected to increase to 95 percent by 2022.

Overall, North America has the highest share of LTE subscriptions because of rapid migration from CDMA and WCDMA/HSPA-based networks. This trend will continue with 5G, according to Ericsson’s report, as leading operators in the region have said their intention is to expand into pre-standardized 5G as early as 2017. This will result in North America having the highest share of 5G subscriptions in 2022 at 25 percent. In comparison, Western Europe’s regional share of 5G subscriptions in 2022 is expected to be 5 percent.

China, the world’s most populous country, has seen ongoing deployment of LTE and is expected to result in more than 1.3 billion LTE subscriptions by the end of 2022, according to Ericsson’s report, making up around 80 percent of all mobile subscriptions. However, across Asia Pacific, LTE will represent just 55 percent of all mobile subscriptions by the end of 2022. By that year, 5G will account for around 10 percent of Asia Pacific’s subscriptions, with deployments starting in South Korea, Japan and China.

Published in Featured

Huawei leads with the completion of China's second-phase 5G radio technology test in Huairou District, Beijing. This test procedure was organized by IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group. During the C-Band test, Huawei adopted 5G New Radio, Massive MIMO, and other technologies using the entire 200 MHz bandwidth to achieve over 6 Gbps of single-user downlink throughput and over 18 Gbps of cell peak rate.

The world's first Huawei 5G test terminal was utilized for radio technology verification. This terminal enabled more than 100 channels of on demand 4K UHD video in a single 5G base station. The clarity and smooth playback in vehicle-mounted mobile scenarios helped to demonstrate a superior experience offered by 5G C-Band Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB).

Huawei is the first to complete 5G network slicing test to meet diversified service requirements in three typical scenarios. Network slices enjoy flexible configuration with excellent cooperation between the air interface and network to provide a more secure and differentiated user experience. An extensive range of services are available on a single network with an air interface latency of less than 0.5 ms and over 4 million single-cell connections. Both exceed 5G requirements specified by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Huawei has completed large-scale service verification based on an actual network and service environment scenario ahead of schedule. This is more than a key milestone of China's 5G R&D test, which also indicates a significant step forward for 5G industrialization.

During the test procedures, Huawei implemented interoperability tests involving radio frequency and interworking functions together with upstream and downstream vendors. Huawei partnered with instrument vendors (Rohde & Schwarz, Keysight Technologies, and DT Link Tester), chipset vendors (Spreadtrum Communications and MediaTek), and other companies to promote industry maturity.

Mrs. Wang Zhiqin, Deputy Director of the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) emphasized that, "The second-phase 5G R&D system verification was launched in September 2016 to promote global 5G standardization, accelerate 5G prototype development, and build the 5G industry chain.”

Zhiqin added, “This test used a set of unified equipment and test specifications for 5G-oriented typical scenarios. Thanks to proactive support from global operation, system, chipset, and instrument companies, we have reached preset goals and accelerated the formation of an industry ecosystem."

Dr. Tong Wen, Huawei Fellow and Wireless Network CTO highlighted that, "Huawei launched 5G R&D as early as 2009 and since then is committed to driving technological innovation and cross-industry collaboration. Huawei's 5G research achievements have been hugely validated during the second phase of the 5G test. In the future, Huawei will continuously focus on 5G R&D to promote the sound development of the 5G industry in close participation with global partners."

Published in Telecom Vendors

The 5G race in Asia is underway, with the region’s powerhouses, Japan and South Korea, going head-to-head. Both countries have major international sports showcases coming up, giving local telcos the chance to flex their muscles. South Korean providers are working towards early deployment of 5G for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018; while Japanese providers have the opportunity to showcase full-fledged 5G at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.  

The Olympic Games have long played host to some of the world’s most innovative technology showcases. From the first electronic stopwatches at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, to the live television broadcasts at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, and instant video replay at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 – host cities strive to show the world what they’re made of. This time, the spotlight is on Japan and South Korea to showcase 5G technology.

Commercialization of 5G is not expected to start before 2020, as governments, companies and standardization groups negotiate and try to standardize norms between different countries for a smooth 5G transition. The timeline would appear to give Japan an advantage over South Korea to provide 5G for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, South Korea shows no sign of giving up on its 5G ambitions, as it aims to showcase pre-standard 5G for the Winter Olympic Games.

“The PyeongChang Winter Olympics will become the world’s first 5G Olympics utilizing the IoT [Internet of Things] and UHD. We are aiming to make use of the technology for the sake of people’s convenience and memory above anything else,” said Lee Hee-beom, president and CEO of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games, in a recent interview with Business Korea.

“5G test networks are to be established in the venues, the Seoul Incheon International Airport, downtown in Seoul and so on,” Lee added. “The networks will provide extremely realistic media services and content based on hologram, virtual reality, etc.”

2018 Winter Olympics to provide immersive experiences’

South Korean mobile operator Korea Telecom (KT) says it wants to give spectators at the 2018 Winter Olympics what it hopes will be their first 5G experience, regardless of whether 5G has been commercially deployed. South Korea plans to use the Winter Olympics in February 2018 to test 5G on the hundreds of thousands of spectators, providing them with access to very high definition content or virtual reality.

KT chief executive Chang-Gyu Hwang has promised that 5G will bring “dramatic changes.” A KT spokesperson at Mobile World Congress this year said: “KT will introduce brand new services that have not ever been possible with the radio technologies of the current generations.”

The current 4G standard enables fast broadband access via smartphones, but governments and manufacturers foresee the next generation enabling connection speeds of up to 1,000 times faster than what’s currently available. Dexter Thillien, an analyst at IBM Research, says operators are “looking to 5G as a differentiator, especially in markets where LTE (4G) is ubiquitous” such as South Korea.

5G at the Winter Olympics in South Korea will be “pre-standards 5G” says Thillien. “The Olympic launch is more a marketing ploy to say they were the first.” The main obstacle the country faces when introducing 5G before standards have been finalized, is that the frequencies used might not, in the end, be used at a global level. “We know for example that the spectrum of frequencies that will be used in South Korea is not available in Europe, but will be in the United States,” says Thillien.

In June 2016, KT confirmed its intention to deploy 5G technology at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Speaking at Mobile World Congress Shanghai last year, Dongmyun Lee, EVP at KT, said some of the services to expect through 5G will include a drone equipped with a video camera. Lee said viewers will be able to experience the Games from the athlete’s point-of-view thanks to 5G.

A 5G proof of concept was completed by KT and NEC in April last year for 5G wireless backhaul solutions utilizing spectrum in the 70GHz and 80GHz bands. The trial was conducted at Phoenix Park Ski World in PyeongChang, using KT’s commercial mobile network infrastructure.

The operator has been collaborating with vendors such as ZTE and Ericsson for the development of 5G. The carrier currently offers LTE services using spectrum in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2.1 GHz bands, having initially launched LTE services in January 2012.

Most recently, at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, KT’s chief executive presented the PyeongChang 5G Specifications based on a 5G End-to-End Network. This was the first time a perfect 5G mobile network interlocked with 5G terminals, base stations, and core devices was presented.

"5G End-to-End Network," jointly developed by KT and Samsung Electronics, is wirelessly connected to base stations and terminals and interlocked with core network equipment that act as the control tower. It performs all key functions, such as customer authentication, mobility, and linkage with external networks, required for providing customers with 5G services.

In addition, KT applied "5G distributed architecture" to the 5G End-to-End Network in order to improve the efficiency of the existing network architecture (4G, LTE), which handles all data traffic at the network center.

'5G distributed architecture' can virtualize core networks to handle data traffic and allocate them to any desired area. As data transmission starts at the nearest location to a customer, even high-capacity media which cannot be handled by 4G (LTE) networks can be transmitted smoothly with low latency.

KT predicts that '5G distributed architecture' could stably commercialize 5G-based services such as connected cars that deliver traffic information with low latency, remote medical service systems that require real-time control, and smart factories.

Chief Manager at KT Infra R&D Center, Hong Beom Jeon said: "KT will complete 5G trial service networks in the second half of the year based on the 5G End-to-End Network that contains core devices. We will provide spectators with entirely new 5G service experiences such as Sync View, 360° VR, and omni-view, etc.”

KT’s rival in South Korea, SK Telecom, says it will also offer immersive experiences at the 2018 Winter Olympics such as the possibility to see live holograms of the athletes as well as so-called omni-view camera angles through which viewers can choose to watch an event from multiple points-of-view. 

SK Telecom’s ‘5G White Paper’ says the Korean government has set up the Creative 5G Mobile Strategy, under which it presented SNS, mobile stereoscopic image, intelligent service, ultra-high-speed service and UHD/hologram as the five core services.

South Korea, China, Japan and the EU have started to establish a special organization to define the 5G concept and share views on 5G networks and the services around it. Initial discussions are ongoing, according to SK Telecom’s report, focused on innovation of mobile telecommunication technology to deliver Gigabit data rate and the potential 5G services that can reflect people’s lifestyles in 2020, the year the industry is aiming to commercialize the technology.

In an effort to meet the requirements of the evolution to 5G from in and out of the country, SK Telecom has conducted its own research on 5G networks from 2013 and is actively participating in global 5G discussions. One of the company’s most significant achievements was in February this year, when it announced it had successfully tested its 5G network on a connected car running at 170 kilometers per hour, reaching 3.6Gbps data transfer speeds, the highest for a 28GHz-based 5G pilot network.

SK Telecom worked with Ericsson and BMW to achieve the speed at the German vehicle manufacturer’s driving center in Incheon city, west of South Korea’s capital Seoul. The operator also announced plans with Ericsson and Qualcomm to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials based on 5G New Radio (NR) standards that are being developed in 3GPP.

The trials are intended to closely track and push to accelerate the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15. The companies say the trials will showcase new 5G NR technologies that use wide bandwidths in the higher frequency bands to increase network capacity and achieve multi-gigabit-per-second data rates. Such technologies are said to be critical in meeting the connectivity requirements for things like virtual reality, augmented reality and connected cloud services.

Commercial 5G deployment at 2020 Summer Olympics

Ericsson has also been working closely with Japanese telecoms corporation SoftBank to conduct 5G trials in Japan. Telecom operators in Japan are working aggressively to showcase commercial 5G in time for the Summer Olympics in 2020. Ericsson and SoftBank announced plans for a 28GHz trial in Tokyo that will involve indoor and outdoor environments, covering both device and mobility stationary tests.

SoftBank’s trial with Ericsson will use the vendor’s mmWave (millimeter wave) 28GHz 5G Test Bed solution, which includes base stations and device prototypes and will showcase advanced 5G technologies such as Massive-MIMO (multiple input, multiple output), Massive Beamforming, Distributed MIMO, Multiuser MIMO and Beam Tracking. Also part of the mix will be multi-gigabit data rates and ultra-low latency.

"SoftBank started to verify 4.5 GHz radio back in August 2016 and now 4.5 GHz is becoming the leading candidate band for 5G services in Japan together with 28 GHz,” says Hideyuki Tsukuda, senior vice president at SoftBank. “We are leveraging Ericsson's Test Bed with 28 GHz radio to validate a lot of advanced features at super low-latency and high throughput, which helps position us as a pioneer of 5G.”

Mikael Eriksson, head of Ericsson Japan, said he is “confident that we will be the first to deliver 5G services and that we will deliver the best performing end to end network in Japan.”

SoftBank is competing head-to-head with NTT DoCoMo, the predominant mobile phone operator in Japan. Last November, the operator announced it had completed a 5G trial with Samsung Electronics that achieved a data speed of more than 2.5Gbps with a mobile device that was in a vehicle traveling 150 km/h, which proved the feasibility of connectivity for 5G devices in fast moving trains. The transmissions were conducted using the 28GHz band.

In early May this year, NTT DoCoMo announced its new medium-term 5G strategy for implementation through the 2020 fiscal year, effective immediately. The plan focuses on six declarations that DoCoMo will act upon to realize a more innovative business structure in the coming era of 5G.

The underlying objectives of the "Declaration beyond" plan are 1) to “exceed the expectations of customers and help them connect with their aspirations via exciting and unexpected services” and 2) to “create all-new value propositions in collaboration with business partners as DOCOMO challenges new frontiers with an eye to 2020 and beyond.”

Despite the major advances made in the design and evolution of 4G cellular networks in Japan, NTT DoCoMo says new market trends are “imposing unprecedentedly challenging requirements” which are driving the company to the “necessity of a 5G mobile network.”

The high-level targets of the company’s 5G strategy, according to the ‘DOCOMO 5G White Paper’, include higher system capacity, reduced latency, higher data rate, massive device connectivity (IoT), as well as energy saving and cost reduction.

Japan’s mobile operators are working tirelessly to develop 5G wireless technology to cater for an estimated half a million visitors to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Estimations suggest that this could increase network capacity from anywhere between 100 to 1000 fold.

“The Olympic Games is a sports festival, but also it’s a chance to show the innovation of scientific technologies,” said Tokyo’s organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto. “We have the potential to make this Olympic Games wonderful [and one] that the people of the world are going to admire.”

Published in Featured

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.

Published in Telecom Operators