Huawei has claimed the upper hand against rival ZTE by completing a 5G New Radio (NR) trial in the 2.6 GHz spectrum band. The latest proclamation comes as both China-based vendors look to put a torrid 2018 behind them.
The two vendors are vying to take the lead in 5G testing under the aegis of the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group, which was established in 2013 as China’s platform to promote 5G research in that country. The 5G R&D trial established three separate phases for verifying a 5G solution: key technologies, technical solutions, and system networking.
The third phase was initiated in November 2017, and Huawei and ZTE have now made announcements of successful tests for that phase.
Earlier this month, ZTE claimed it had “taken the lead” in completing third-phase 5G tests for core network performance stability and security function, “fully verifying the maturity of ZTE’s 5G core network.” Specifically, the test involved the performance of the NFVI platform; the service performance of 5G core network element single/multi virtual machine (VM) deployment; and system capacity and stability.
Now, Huawei said it has taken the lead in the third phase of the 5G trial to date, including laboratory and field testing in non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) 5G NR scenarios. The tests in the 2.6 GHz band follows earlier trials in the 3.5 GHz and 4.9 GHz bands.
Huawei also sought to flag the benefits of 2.6 GHz as one of the “excellent choices for operators to deploy 5G NSA/SA commercial network.” It pointed to the fact that the 2.6 GHz band is an “abundant spectrum resource around the world, but not fully used in many areas.”
The vendor plans to conduct more 5G trials with the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group this year, including voice over New Radio (VoNR) and terminal chip interoperability test, as part of its preparations for 5G commercial trials and launches in 2020.
ZTE is also gearing up for the commercial launch of 5G in China and recently touted the completion of a 5G call using a ZTE-branded 5G prototype smartphone and ZTE 5G network equipment in collaboration with China Unicom. The call was made in the NSA mode in compliance with 3GPP Release 15, and tested services including Wechat group voice call, online video, and web browsing. It also used various network technologies such as massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna technology, 5G NR, NSA dual connectivity, FlexE transport technology, and a 5G common core.
China must certainly seem like a safe haven for the two vendors as the international environment becomes increasingly hostile over security fears. Countries including Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States have already raised concerns about the perceived risk of using equipment from the Chinese vendors in future 5G networks.