Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung hailed tests of 5G networks based on the Non-Standalone 5G New Radio (NSA 5G NR) standard and using millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum as important steps toward the commercial launch of 5G NR networks from 2019 onwards.
Qualcomm, which also only just unveiled the Snapdragon 855 mobile platform for 5G at its annual Snapdragon Technology Summit in Hawaii, was involved in separate tests with Samsung and Verizon on one hand and Nokia on the other.
Not to be left out, Huawei also issued its own release saying it has completed 2.6GHz 5G NR interoperability and development testing with Intel, based on 3GPP Release 15.
The rush of vendor announcements comes as carrier network launches gather pace. Only this week we have seen commercial 5G network launches in South Korea, while Sweden’s Telia Company and Ericsson also trumpeted a live 5G network in Stockholm.
Verizon has, of course, also launched a residential fixed wireless service called 5G Home, although it came under criticism for not using the 5G NR standard. However, the carrier has now been named for its involvement in the 5G NR trials with Qualcomm and Samsung. The three companies said they successfully carried out a 5G NR data connection using 400MHz of bandwidth in Verizon’s 28GHz spectrum, achieving a maximum throughput of more than 1.7 Gb/s.
The test was based on Samsung’s commercial 5G NR and 4G LTE equipment and a 5G smartphone prototype using a Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem. Verizon and Samsung also flagged plans to bring “one of the first commercial 5G smartphones to market in the first half of 2019.”
Meanwhile, Qualcomm and Nokia said they had successfully achieved over-the-air (OTA) 5G NR data calls in both the mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum bands, although without revealing which specific bands were used. The Finnish vendor seemed reluctant to provide more details at this stage. The test used the Nokia AirScale base stations and the Qualcomm smartphone form factor.
The two vendors claimed that the OTA calls are “key steps” in enabling customers in the 5G ecosystem to launch commercial networks and mobile devices from early 2019 onwards, in Australia, China, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States.